Should art museum admission be free?

This article in London’s Sunday Times begs that question, making the argument that scrapping the ticket system lowers the museum’s standards of quality. Apparently, free admission isn’t enough to get the people in the doors—the Imperial War Museum has put Halle Berry’s bikini from “Die Another Day” on display.

The article reminded me of an infographic I saw recently in GOOD magazine. “Who Pays For Museum Tickets?” compares the cost of admission for the 20 biggest US museums with each museum’s cost per visitor. It’s very interesting to look at how the museums compare. The largest museum, the Getty, has free admission—and the cost to the museum per visitor is a whopping $177.92. Knowing that makes me consider donating! Click here to see the graphic.

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One thought on “Should art museum admission be free?

  1. Teresa

    Hm, that’s a good question. I like that the Smithsonian museums are free, but, who really foots the bill? Who pays for the Getty’s actual admission charges? Some financing is probably through gift store sales, and some may be through endowments by wealthy benefactors. But, if it helps for patrons to be charged at least a nominal fee, then I’m all for that fee.