By Amy Zimmer
DNAinfo News Editor
MANHATTAN — The Metropolitan Museum of Art is raising its suggested entrance fee to $25 from $20 starting July 1, citing budget woes.
The Met "faces a number of daunting, ongoing budgetary challenges," the museum's director Thomas Campbell said in a statement announcing the move.
The city's most famous museum, with its $2.3 billion endowment, isn't immune from the effects of the bad economy on fundraising and other revenue streams.
"Income from our endowment has flattened, the average visitor contribution at the door is lower, and public sector operating support has fallen," Campbell said. "Since the average cost to the Museum of each visitor is $40, we believe it is fair and, above all, necessary, to increase recommended admission levels at this time."
City subsidies to the Met have dipped and may go down substantially in the coming year.
It's the first fee increase in five years, museum officials said, who pointed out that the Met will continue to be free for children under 12 and student groups from New York City schools that reserve in advance.
Plus, it's totally optional whether to pay at all.
"General admission to the Met will remain 'recommended,' even at new rates," Campbell said. "In that light, the Met remains not only the biggest museum in the country, but also the biggest bargain in town."