Twenty bucks to get into the Met, MoMA -- and the September 11 Museum at the World Trade Center?
Joe Daniels, the president of the organization that’s building the museum and the memorial says it’s a possibility.
“People pay $20 now to go see a world-class museum,” he said Tuesday after testifying at City Council hearing on the progress of redeveloping Ground Zero. “This museum will certainly be impactful and world-class.”
Daniels’ predecessor, Gretchen Dykstra, floated the idea of an admission charge back in 2006. Mayor Bloomberg supported the idea, suggesting that the fee would be more like $10 or $15.
Since then, there’s been little clarity about just how the museum will raise its $50 million estimated operating expenses -- and it will open in two years.
Daniels said the museum would charge a fee if it couldn’t raise enough from other sources. He told the City Council committee that he’s asked the state, federal and local governments to help out avert having to charge a fee. Each level of government, he said, wants to know if the other levels will be pitching in before making any sort of commitment. He’s also trying to raise money from foundations and corporations.
When talk of the fee arose four years ago, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver sponsored a bill that would have prevented admission charges if the museum accepted state funding. Both branches of the state legislature passed the bill but then-Gov. George Pataki vetoed it. Silver’s office hasn’t returned a request for comment.
It’s unclear if the fee, if it comes to that, would be mandatory or voluntary. (The Met’s $20 admission is “suggested,” though visitors must pay something.) A spokeswoman for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, Lynn Rasic, said that family members of victims of the attacks would not have to pay any admission if a fee is imposed.
Officials say the memorial plaza will open next September and will be free under any circumstances.