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The Metropolitan Museum of Art will now officially be able to charge an admission fee now that the Bloomberg administration finally made an amendment to the museum’s original 1878 lease of city-owned land.
The New York Times reported Thursday that the administration clarified the vague agreement between the city and the museum. Since 1971, the museum had been charging a suggested fee through a deal with the city, but that was recently challenged by two state lawsuits that said the 1878 agreement said it had no authority to do so.
Thursday’s amendments put that into the lease officially and also allows the Met to charge admission fees for special exhibitions.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Met isn’t planning on changing its current suggested $25 admission fee for adults.
“We remain very much committed to maintaining—and further widening—public access to the Museum,” Met director and chief executive Thomas Campbell stated. However, he noted, “faced with perennial uncertainties about future funding sources, the Met and the City concluded that it makes sense now to consecrate our long-standing and wholly legal admissions policies.”
The sudden amendment change did not make the attorney representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuits very happy. One of the suits claims that the museum is guilty of fraud, noting that it doesn’t make the public aware that the fee is “suggested.”
“This lawsuit’s been pending a year and now in the dead of night, without any public process, as this administration is leaving, they suddenly come up with an amendment to the lease,” Arnold M. Weiss, who is representing the plaintiffs in the cases, said. “The process is very inappropriate.” He added that they are not “conceding that this lease amendment is valid.”
image: Wikimedia Commons