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Met Agrees to Change Fee Signs After Lawsuit

By Shaye Weaver | February 26, 2016 4:48pm | Updated on February 29, 2016 8:30am
 Admission at The Met will remain
Admission at The Met will remain "pay what you wish" but signs will change from saying "recommended donation" to "suggested donation" to try and clear up any miscommunication, museum officials say.
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Getty Images/Spencer Platt

UPPER EAST SIDE — Visitors to The Metropolitan Museum of Art may see new "suggested admission" signs rather than current "recommended admission" ones next month.

The change in wording comes as a settlement in a three-year-old class action lawsuit that claimed the museum was misleading in its admission policy by using the word "recommended." 

The agreement is still subject to court approval.

Those who go to The Met — including its museum location at 1000 Fifth Ave., the Cloisters at Fort Tryon Park and the new Met Breuer at 945 Madison Ave. — will see that the "suggested" donation is $25, but will be free to pay whatever they want, according to museum officials.

Once a visitor pays for admission at one of the Met's museums, that admission is good for the two other venues that same day and includes access to special exhibitions.

The change comes just in time for the Met Breuer opening in March, officials say.

"The opening ... 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," said Thomas Campbell, the director and CEO of the museum.

In February 2015, a judge dismissed a group's lawsuit claiming that the museum couldn't charge admission because of a 19th-century law that prohibited it from forcing visitors to pay at least five days and two evenings a week.

Since 1970, the Museum and city have had a "pay as you wish" agreement, which superseded the old law, according to court documents.

But another, separate claim against The Met remained, which alleged that the museum's donation policy posted at its kiosks with the "recommended donation" signs led people to believe they had to pay a certain amount to get in.

On Friday, The Met announced that it will settle by changing the wording, "suggesting" a donation at all of its admission desks, on its website and at its self-service ticket kiosks, according to museum officials.

An attorney representing the plaintiffs did not immediately return a call for comment on Friday.