Museum Management Changes and Challenges
From an ethical standpoint, the Metropolitan Museum of Art policy in New York does raise questions. It would be fairer to indicate on the signs that the recommended admission donation is $25 for adults, but visitors are free to determine the amount themselves. The fact that the recommended nature of the payment is written in small letters indicates an attempt to hide the truth from less attentive visitors.
The Met is a nonprofit organization, which means that it is not for making money. However, it should be noted that “charitable organizations” also need funds to operate (Meiners, 2014). Nevertheless, there are many sources from which the Museum can raise money, including membership dues, lecture proceeds, and exhibitions (Mulcahy, 2020; Choi & Kim, 2021). Apparently, given the popularity of The Met, revenues received from admission ticket sales account for a large part of the institution’s budget.
Nevertheless, this cannot be an excuse for covertly imposing this service on people who have not read what is written in small letters. As it is known, “basic to the law of contracts is freedom of contract” (Meiners, 2014). In addition, the contract requires that “the services were knowingly and voluntarily accepted” (Meiners, 2014). It is difficult to say that the agreement between The Met and the visitors is grounded in free will. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is visited by more than six million people a year (Navarrete & Villaespesa, 2020). Some of these people are foreigners who may not know English well and older people for whom reading small letters is difficult. It appears that the people responsible for the wording of the sign are well aware of these two circumstances. It is difficult to call it ethical and legitimate for the Museum to make money from those who, due to objective reasons, feel that they have to pay $25. Thus, there is nothing surprising that a class action lawsuit was filed, which has now been decided in favor of the plaintiffs.
Choi, B., & Kim, J. (2021). Changes and challenges in museum management after the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity, 7(2), 1-18. Web.
Meiners, R. E., Ringleb, A. H., & Edwards, F. L. (2014). The legal environment of business. Centage Learning.
Mulcahy, K. (2020). Earned income and American museums. Culture and Local Governance, 6(2), 92-102. Web.
Navarrete, T., & Villaespesa, E. (2020). Digital heritage consumption: The case of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. magazén, 1(2), 223-248. Web.