Price hike! Brooklyn Museum raises its ‘suggested’ donation

The Brooklyn Paper
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The cash-strapped Brooklyn Museum has increased its “suggested” admission fee to $12, a 20-percent jump caused by the poor economy, Museum officials said last Thursday night.

The announcement comes on the heels of the Museum’s elimination of its popular Friday night hours; and the high-profile cancellation of a major spring 2012 exhibition, “Art in the Streets,” a controversial show that chronicles the history of graffiti and street art.

“The financial climate is such that we unfortunately need to raise the prices of suggested admission to cover the costs of operation — presenting exhibits, personnel, a whole range of things,” said Museum spokeswoman Sally Williams. “But it’s suggested, so visitors can pay what they want, but we’re suggesting they pay $2 more.”

The recent cutbacks are consistent with the financial crush the Museum has been experiencing since 2009 when, due to a $23 million loss in city funding over a three-year period, it cut staff, offered buyouts to its 281 full-time employees, and slashed salaries.

In raising fees, the Museum is following the lead of institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, which raised its suggested donation in July from $20 to $25, also blaming the economy.

Williams said that a $2 increase would not dissuade anyone from coming to the Museum, claiming that the last such increase — from $8 to $10 in 2009 — did not cause a drop in visits.

In 2011, 409,561 people visited the Museum, compared to 377,069 in 2010, 65 percent of whom paid the full admission price, Williams said, though according to the New York Times, visitors decreased by 23 percent between 2008 and 2009, and a quarter of Brooklyn Museum visitors were there for free events.

“It has nothing to do with attendance. We’re always refreshing and maintaining our collections, and we do an amazing array of public programs for adults and kids,” she said. “This price hike is a fairly straightforward thing.”

Despite the hike, many residents are willing to shell out two extra dollars and pay full-price for admission to the Brooklyn Museum, which is still cheaper than many other cultural institutions.

“We go to the Met, and it’s $25,” said Bob Higgins, who lives in Manhattan and was visiting the museum last Friday afternoon with his wife. “$12 is a bargain. We both gave them $20.”

Park Slope resident Michelle Radtke also expressed willingness to pay full-price — that is, if it will enable Museum improvements.

“I would still pay $12,” she said. “If it costs a little more to have better exhibits, I think it’s worth it.”

But others see it differently.

“$12 is kind of steep to go to the Brooklyn Museum,” said Alison Ladman, who lives in Manhattan. “I’d pay no more than $8.

Reach Arts Editor Juliet Linderman at or by calling (718) 260-8309.
Updated 5:27 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

gimme from around says:
put sum of dem burlesque beyatches in dey museum, den it b wurfs it yo for 12 dollahs, hollah dat!
Oct. 28, 2011, 12:06 pm
jj from brooklyn says:
the brooklyn museum should cultivate its BROOKLYN base instead of chasing manhattan suits. they seem to do a lot of advertising in the ny times which costs them plenty! probably would do them well to spend less by advertising instead in local newspapers and blogs, which would help them attract a more appreciative LOCAL audience.

they really seem to hate the fact that "brooklyn" is their first name.
Oct. 28, 2011, 2:32 pm
Griff says:
I find this odd. It's suggested. Just pay what you ——ing want.
Oct. 28, 2011, 2:42 pm
Gimme says:
Gimme speaka English not Ebonics.
Oct. 30, 2011, 9:51 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
There is just something I don't get about this. If they are eliminating certain hours and some upcomming exhibition, then shouldn't the suggested donation by lower rather than higher? This almost reminds me of the MTA when they are getting services but raising the fares anyway, which makes no sense at all. Since this is a suggested donation, most don't pay the full price anyway, so raising it will still make them pay a fraction of the price. Maybe they should just stay local, because one can always go to Manhattan such as the Metropolitain Museum of Art if they want to see Egyptian art.
Oct. 30, 2011, 6:02 pm
Joe Nardiello from Carroll Gardens says:
What the Brooklyn Museum officials STILL fail to realize -- is that MTA service/bus lines cut in 2010 affects their bottom line. Specifically, the B71 which goes/used to go from Crown Heights right by their front door, and threaded Park Slope, Carroll Gardens etc. is no longer. During an MTA public hearing (in early '10) I tried to relay that places like the Brooklyn Museum will suffer -- especially in this economy -- along with residents/families (even Museum employees) cut off from bus transport along a line that existed for well over 100 years, as a trolley connection. Local pols don't use nor had a history with these lines in their pasts and thus their interest waned in "fighting" for the B71.

I wonder how the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's visitation figures are doing? In tandem, the Brooklyn Museum and botanic garden share a parking lot. The renovations at both locations have made it difficult to visit and forced families/visitors to hunt for spaces far from entrances.
Oct. 31, 2011, 10:11 am
B. from Ditmas Park says:
Look, there's nothing really to see at the Brooklyn Museum anymore. This year I let my membership lapse after probably thirty years. When I was a child, over half a century ago, the Brooklyn Museum was a magnificent institution, filled with treasures from all over the world, a place for everyone, native Brooklynites and immigrants, to visit and wonder and learn. Now many of its walls are empty, the exhibitions that are mounted are dumbed down, architectural fragments are rotting outdoors, and the much-vaunted, too-tall glass facade looks like a construction zone obscuring the column bases above.

When the Brooklyn Museum changes its course, I'll renew my membership and begin visiting again. Of course attendance is down. When there's actually something to see, the Brooklyn Museum will see its galleries thronged.
Nov. 4, 2011, 6:35 pm

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