Nov 2, 2023·edited Nov 6, 2023Author

November 2, 2023, circa 12:00 noon

Got to talking to a couple, an elderly man from Utah accompanied on a visit to New York by his forty-ish daughter from Georgia. They had reserved tickets with a group for later on in the day but had come to the Museum early. They asked the ticket salesperson if they might use their reservation early. Nope. They asked if there was a restroom they could use. Sure, said the salesperson, I can sell you a ticket.

Now as every salesperson knows, there are restrooms on Level G. that are outside the ticketed area. So why would this salesperson lie? In 2013 a suit (Saskia v. Metropolitan Museum of Art) was launched against the Met, based in part on an affidavit from a former salesperson who claimed that the sales staff were consistently pressured to extract as much cash as feasible from visitors and were evaluated based on the receipts they racked up. [Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein. "Former Met Supervisor Reveals Museum's Entry-fee 'Bounties' in Blockbuster Affidavit," New York Post, July 6, 2013].

Of course the Met denied this on a stack of catalogs. And we all know how open the Met has always been, don't we? As a former Museum director put it,

"Some have suggested that it is public-spirited to advocate that in order to reach the communities we serve, we should seek to demystify the museum-going experience. I must say, I view our role quite differently; in fact, as the very opposite."

- Philippe de Montebello, "Art Museums, Inspiring Public Trust,” in James Cuno et al., "Whose Muse? Art Museums and the Public Trust" (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004), p. 166.

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September 1, 2023, circa 2:30 pm.

Approached the ticket counter in the Southwest corner of the Great Hall, because I wanted to document the text for the admissions policy, which is posted above the desk. A scruffy-looking young man (not a guard but with a Museum tag) loudly told me,"no photographs allowed in here." Somebody's worried.

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