NEW YORK (AP) — The Metropolitan Museum of Art said Thursday it has signed an amendment to its lease with New York City that confirms the museum can set its own admission fees.
The amendment comes as the museum faces lawsuits filed earlier this year that accuse the Met of fooling visitors into thinking they have to pay.
The museum said a policy requiring visitors to pay at least something has been around for four decades, and the amendment codifies it in the lease and also gives the museum the ability to consider any other price modifications it might need in the future.
"The continued generosity of our visitors under pay-what-you-wish remains crucial to our ability to build and maintain the Met's encyclopedic collections and magnificent galleries, and to present special exhibitions and public programs at no additional cost to visitors who enter the building," said Thomas Campbell, the museum's director. "When the policy was first introduced, the Met was a 750,000-foot-square museum attracting a million visitors a year. The building is now more than twice the size and commensurately more expensive to maintain and secure for its more than six million annual visitors. The quantity and quality of service provided by the Museum makes the preservation of its varied income streams more important than ever."
With the announcement, the museum redoubled efforts to get a judge to throw out lawsuits that accuse the museum of fooling visitors into thinking they have to pay. One suit says museum leaders have created "an expensive, fee-for-viewing, elite tourist attraction, where only those of financial means can afford to enter this publicly subsidized institution situated on prime city-owned land."