Monday, 19 September 2011

Testing out ‘Suggested Fee’ Museums in New York City

On our trip to New York City last weekend, I planned to try out two suggested fee museums, The Metropolitan Museum and The Frick Collection.  I wanted to see just how low I could go in gaining admission… and I also wanted to see if the museum staff would give your humble blogger attitude for being a cheapskate when he did.

I told the Husband I was planning on doing this but I didn’t tell him I was going to try to get in for as little money as I could.

Yes, I was prepared to look like a cheap bastard to get to scoop on suggested fee museums for my readers.

The Metropolitan Museum
As I waited in line at the Met, I watched how much people in front of me were paying.  First a family paid the full price and then two women bought a membership.  Two younger women right in front of us paid a dollar each.

I wondered how little I had to pay.

“It’s a suggested fee of 25 dollars, right” I asked the woman behind the counter.

“Yes,” she said.

“So I can pay anything?”


“Can I pay nothing?”

“No,” she said, “I have to put some amount into the cash register so it has to be something.”

“Is this OK?” I asked, handing over two pennies.

“That’s fine,” she said and handed me my receipt (see photo below).

And that was it.  There was no grimace or hint of annoyance in her face.  She pleasantly passed me my tickets and we left.  I was a little disappointed that they took it so well.  That’s hardly the stuff of blog drama, I thought.  She didn’t even roll her eyes.

The Husband, however, was mortified.

“You’re going in alone at the Frick tomorrow,” he said.

The Frick Collection
On Sundays between 11:00am and 1:00pm, the Frick Collection is also ‘pay what you wish’.

Again I tried to get in free but was told I had to pay something.

“So a penny is fine?”

“Sure is!” she said.  She handed me my ticket with a smile.

I assume I wasn’t the first person to have got into the Frick on the cheap. I went in the museum while the Husband paid for himself… two or three people behind me in the queue.

Included in my cent admission was a free audio guide at the Frick.

For those who cannot afford the prices of either the Metropolitan Museum ($25.00) or the Frick Collection ($18.00), say older people on a fixed income or less affluent folks who find museum prices far to high (or even for those who are just bloody cheap), suggested price museums are a great way to see some of the best art in the world in one of the best cities in the world (and save your cash for the MoMA).

And since the Metropolitan and Frick staff were nothing but hospitable and charming when I handed over a mere penny, one should not feel embarrassed or think that they will be treated badly by the staff of either museum because they are paying what you can afford.

After all, that’s the name of the game!

PS: Before you bust your humble blogger’s chops for being a cheap prick, I should mention that I made a donation of $50.00 to the Metropolitan Museum to cover the admission price of the Husband and I.  At the Frick, the Husband gave them enough to cover the both of us.