The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that it has reached an agreement to settle the three-year-old class action lawsuit, Saska v. Metropolitan Museum, that challenged the Museum's longstanding "pay what you wish" admission policy.
Under the terms of the settlement, The Met will refine the language on its signs at all admission desks, on its website, and at its self-service ticket kiosks. Where they now read "recommended admission," the new signs will say "suggested admission." Although the settlement is subject to court approval, the Museum announced that it would implement these changes in March 2016 to coincide with the opening of The Met Breuer, its new, additional location on Madison Avenue at 75th Street.
The Museum further announced that The Met Breuer will follow the same "pay-what-you-wish" policy as the two current Met locations. Admission at any location will give visitors access to all three Met venues that same day. General admission also includes access to all special exhibitions at no additional charge. The Met Fifth Avenue is currently hosting eight exhibitions, which have been visited to date at no extra cost by 513,941 visitors. The Met Breuer opens to the public March 18, 2016 with two new exhibitions, "Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible" and "Nasreen Mohamedi."
"The opening of The Met Breuer presented an ideal time to put this case behind us, and to refine the admission signs for our 'Suggested Admission/Pay What You Wish' policy, not only at The Met Breuer, but also at The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters," stated Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Museum, in the announcement. "All of our recent branding and marketing work has been aimed at simplifying our message of welcome to the public and emphasizing that we are accessible to the widest possible audience—now at three locations. The new admission signs will represent another step in this effort."
He continued, "At no other museum can so many extraordinary shows and such an outstanding collection be visited in a single day—with a single suggested admission. We hope the public will take full advantage of this policy at all three of our locations. As a non-profit, the support the Met receives through admissions contributes to our ongoing operations and programming; it is critical to our success and greatly appreciated."
As initially filed in 2013, the lawsuit claimed that the Museum was barred from charging admission in any amount. The court ruled in the Museum's favor to dismiss those claims, and that dismissal was affirmed on appeal in 2015. The settlement reached by the two parties addresses the remaining claim that the Museum's communications of its admissions policy were misleading.
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