The Guardian‘s Beef With Free Museum Admission Part 3Posted: July 30, 2011
Over the past few days, we’ve examined the cases of two writers in The Guardian who support charging admission at national UK museums (they are currently free).
Tristram Hunt thinks its better to charge admission than lose outreach programs. Jonathan Jones think its better to charge admission than sell off work or risk it getting defaced because of inadequate security.
So what’s the message here? Would I go to more museums in NYC if they were free? HELL YES. But I go even when they aren’t. I don’t feel bad supporting an arts institution when it would cost the same amount to see some terrible movie in theaters. I’m swayed by Hunt’s point– I’d rather pay admission knowing that my money helped to fund education and outreach. And I suspect that many citizens of the United Kingdom would agree with me.
However, given that these national museums are already free, I also think it would be a step back to charge $25 for access. Blerg. In the Post-materialist, Socialist Utopia of my dreams, we would all live in museums. For free.
But until then, I suppose that the answer is some combination of increased government support supplemented by appropriate deaccessioning and a controlled use of suggested admission fees. Perhaps event fees? We’re looking for a “best of all possible worlds” scenario here.
Let me know if you have any ideas and I’ll pass them along to David Cameron the next time we’re out for tea.