The Museum of Modern Art has joined an increasingly crowded list of arts organizations that have raised the price of an adult ticket to $30 from $25, an increase of 20 percent.
On Thursday, officials announced changes to its admissions policy that go into effect Oct. 16. Senior citizens and visitors with disabilities will now pay $22 (an increase of $4), while the price of entry for students rises to $17 (a $3 increase). Tickets for children 16 and under remain free.
For nearly a dozen years, the adult ticket has been $25. But the museum has since dramatically expanded its footprint in Midtown Manhattan, adding 47,000 square feet of gallery space in 2019 at a cost of $450 million. Other museums across the country are dealing with higher operational costs after their own expansions, a challenge matched by slumping attendance as well as rising inflation.
In a statement, Glenn D. Lowry, MoMA’s director, said, “These changes in admission price will help the museum maintain financial stability.”
Earlier this summer, arts organizations including the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art joined the $30 club.
The eye-popping entrance fees of today are a 21st-century phenomenon. When MoMA opened in 1929, admission was free.
The price of a ticket gradually increased through the decades, topping out at $10 by 1999. But in 2004, the museum doubled its entrance fee after a renovation project, which seemed to indicate a broader shift in museum culture. An editorial in The New York Times recalled a time when New Yorkers could “commune with Picasso or Léger during a lunch break,” adding that “making the collection accessible to everyone who loves art is as crucial a responsibility as displaying it properly.”
Today, the museum offers free admission to New Yorkers on the first Friday of each month between 4:00 and 8:00. The line of museumgoers often snakes around the block.