Monday 18 March 2013

The Met is Free: Misleading Signage at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

There are currently two lawsuits against the Metropolitan Museum of Art, both demanding an injunction and signs that clearly state the ticket price is a "suggested donation."
Two Czech tourists and one museum member are accusing the Met admission signs are deceptive. They argue that the Met's signage advertising a $25 dollar fee is ambiguous and that the Met is deceiving the public, swindling the public out of $6 million each year [...]  Michael Hiller, lawyer for the plaintiffs, told Reuters: "There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that, as reflected in the complaint filed today, Number 1, and overwhelming majority of people who visit the museum are completely fooled into believing that they are required to pay the museum's admission fees; and Number 2, museum officials know all about it." 
The response is quite telling: 
Harold Holzer, Senior Vice President of External Affairs at the museum stated in an email: The Met argues that the $25 admission fee funds public educational programs that would not be possible if the museum relied solely on government financing. 
So much then for the encyclopaedic museum within which the average member of the public can explore for him or herself the connections between the cultural disjects displayed one alongside the other. The Museum then goes on to moan about the financial hardship of running such a 'universal museum'. n institution.
Entirely clear and unambiguous for a multicultural audience? Or cynically twisted?  (Photo: Centre for Art Law)

As Donna Yates tweets: "Let us all remember how the MET has historically spent their money: ''..." 

Is the Metropolitan Museum Free?', Center for Art Law, March 17th 2013. 

 For their coverage of the original lawsuit see: For our coverage of the November lawsuit visit: The Met Admission Fee Under Attack.

also: "Visitors to Met Museum in NYC Sue Over Deceptive Admission Fee". Reuters, March 5, 2013; "Met Museum Sued: Unhappy Patrons Take Arts Center to Court Over 'Recommended' Fees," The Huffington Post, March 11, 2013.

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