Museum fee hike suggestion being followed

Price hike! Brooklyn Museum raises its ‘suggested’ donation
The Brooklyn Paper / Julie Rosenberg

Art lovers proved to be largely untroubled by the Brooklyn Museum’s surprise hike in the institution’s “suggested donation” on Saturday from $8 to $10.

“They have to raise the price in this economy unless the city pays or they fire people,” said Toni Weaver, a Manhattanite who forked over the double-digit admission fee on Friday.

Another visitor did even more than that.

“I feel $10 is a bargain — I paid more than the suggested price,” said Nikki Darling, a former Williamsburger who is getting her MBA at Lehigh.

Such talk will no doubt please the higher-ups at the Museum, which said the two dollar increase was necessary because of the deep recession.

“We truly regret that the challenges created by the economic downturn have made it necessary to modestly increase the admissions fee at the Brooklyn Museum,” Director Arnold Lehman said in a statement.

Despite the fair hike, if you will, Lehman said that his museum “still represent[s] extraordinary enriching value for all visitors, particularly in this difficult and distressing time.”

It is unclear what kind of dent the fee hike will make. Records show that the Museum has more than $30 million a year in expenses. So even if every one of the 400,000 or so annual visitors pay the higher price, that will add just $800,000 of new revenue.

The $10 suggested donation — the first increase since 2004 — still keeps the Brooklyn Museum a relative bargain in the art world. The admission “donation” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a Manhattan collection, is $20. At the American Museum of Natural History, also in Manhattan, the donation is $15.

As the name denotes, admission “fees” at such institutions are entirely voluntary. Many customers pay tiny fractions of the suggested donations.

This being New York, not everyone was happy with the “suggestion” to pay more.

“It’s kind of lame during a recession,” said Capri Roth, a graduate student. ”I think art should be free to the public and paid for by the government. I believe in Socialism.”

— with Roland Li and Zeke Faux