Metropolitan Museum of Art Works to Rebound from Money Woes

In this May 10, 2017 photo, people sit on the steps at the Fifth Avenue entrance to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The museum is rebounding from more than a year of internal turmoil and financial problems.
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art, a behemoth of culture and wealth, is rebounding from more than a year of internal turmoil and financial problems.

As part of its recovery efforts, the museum is considering a mandatory admissions fee for visitors from outside New York state. The set fee, possibly $25 for adults, would be the first in the venerable museum’s 147-year history.

Facing a $15 million operating deficit, the Met filed a formal proposal with New York City this month to charge visitors who don’t live in the state a set admission, instead of the current voluntary contribution.

“We’ve had financial challenges — significant ones — over the last couple of years that have culminated over the past year, and a rather significant need to reorganize the institution and to retrench our finances,” said Daniel Weiss, the museum’s president.

About 100 staff positions have been eliminated through buyouts and layoffs. The number of special exhibits staged each year is being slashed from 55 to about 40. A $600 million new wing that had been planned, but not fully financed, is postponed indefinitely. Instead, the Met will be focusing on more pressing capital needs, Weiss said, including spending as much as $100 million to replace a block-long “ocean of bad skylights” built in the 1930s over art galleries.

Met director and chief executive Thomas Campbell stunned the art world in February by announcing his resignation, amid criticism of the museum’s financial management.

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