Culture & Arts

Met 'Fraud' Suit Shows That People Don't Know They Can Enter The Museum For Free

Is The Met Tricking Visitors Into Paying For Admission?

Two members of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York are suing the venerable institution for fraud, the New York Post reports. What did the Met do to incite such ire? It featured the word "recommended" in too-small letters under the word "admissions" at its ticket booths.

This decision by Met administration, in place since the 1970s, amounts to one to "decieve and defraud" the public, according to the suit levied by Theodore Grunewald and Patricia Nicholson, who say the museum is tricking visitors into paying for something that's free. The duo are demanding that the court bar the museum from collecting any fees, according to the New York Times.

Last year, the institution was in hot water when it raised its "recommended" fee to $25. Paddy Johnson at Art Fag City wrote in response, "if visiting the museum is a treat it should still be one many people can afford."

A survey commissioned by Grunewald and Nicholson for the suit finds that 85 percent of nonmembers polled (out of a pool of more than 360 visitors) believed they had to pay for entry. Of Met members, 65 percent of those surveyed said they'd signed up for membership in order to get in for free. We expected more savviness from regular museumgoers, but apparently we underestimated the social pressure to pay up.

Tell us readers: do you think Grunewald and Nicholson have a case, or is their issue "frivolous," as the Met claims in a recent press release? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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