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Natural History Museum to raise admission price to $12 on May 11

April 29, 2011 |  4:53 pm

NaturalHistoryMuseumAerialRenderingNHMandCOArch
For Southern Californians who like to drop in on major museums, the sub-$10 adult general admission ticket is about to go the way of the 10-cent cigar and the sub-$4 gallon of gasoline.

The last holdouts were the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and its subsidiary, the George C. Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits. On Tuesday, the county Board of Supervisors approved price hikes that, starting May 11, will lift admission prices to $12 from $9 at the main museum in Exposition Park, and to $11 from $7 at the Page. The Hammer Museum in Westwood and the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena raised admission to $10 earlier this year.

Less-expensive options remain at some smaller and more specialized museums, not to mention the free admission policies at the J. Paul Getty Museum, the California Science Center and a few others.  For the full story, click here.

Despite the upward pricing trend, museum-going in Southern California remains something of a bargain compared to costs in many other cities, as the prices below culled from museum websites illustrate.

The most recent survey by the American Assn. of Museums, which received responses from 815 museums of all sizes and types, found that the median admission price in 2010 was $7 (meaning half charge more and half charge less), and that 37% of museums were free. The association’s last survey to break out results for large museums was in 2008, when the median fee was $10 for museums with budgets of more than $4 million and $8 for museums with budgets in the $1-million to $4-million range.

Adult general admission prices for major U.S. museums
(special exhibitions may be extra)

More than $20
California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco ($29.50)
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland ($22)
Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton, Ohio ($21)

$20
Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, San Marino (weekend rate)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Museum of Modern Art, New York City
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC (suggested price; visitors can pay what they wish)
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, N.Y. ($19.50)

$18
Art Institute of Chicago
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Guggenheim Museum, NYC
Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC
Frick Collection, NYC
High Museum of Art, Atlanta
Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh ($17.95)

$16-$17
San Diego Natural History Museum ($17 includes 3-D film screenings)
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Springfield, Mass. ($16.99)
Philadelphia Museum of Art ($16)
American Museum of Natural History, NYC ($16, but up to $32 for all exhibits)
Franklin Institute, Philadelphia ($15.50)


$15
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Museum of Tolerance, Los Angeles
Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens (weekday rate)
Neue Galerie, NYC
Seattle Museum of Art
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh
Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh
Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh
Field Museum, Chicago (but up to $29 for all exhibits)
Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art
Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Mich.
Experience Music Project, Seattle
Milwaukee Art Museum ($14)


$12
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (starting May 11)
Ronald Reagan Presidential Museum and Library, Simi Valley
Grammy Museum, Los Angeles ($12.95)
George C. Page Museum, Los Angeles ($11, starting May 11)

Muzeo, Anaheim ($13)
Bowers Museum, Santa Ana
Orange County Museum of Art
Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
New Museum, NYC
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
Portland Art Museum
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo
Milwaukee Public Museum ($12.50)
Cincinnati Museum Center ($12.50)
Science Museum of Minnesota, Saint Paul ($11)

$10
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Autry National Center, Los Angeles
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena
Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles
Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles
Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace, Yorba Linda ($9.95)
De Young Museum, San Francisco
Legion of Honor, San Francisco
Phoenix Art Museum
Denver Museum of Art ($13 for visitors from out of state)
Dallas Museum of Art
New Orleans Museum of Art
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia
Brooklyn Museum, NYC
Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville
Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas
Wadsworth Athanaeum, Hartford
Dia Art Foundation, Beacon, N.Y.

Under $10
Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Mass. ($9)
Detroit Institute of Arts ($8)
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston ($7)

Free
J. Paul Getty Museum and Getty Villa, Los Angeles
California Science Center, Los Angeles
California African American Museum, Los Angeles
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
United States Holocaust Museum, Washington, D.C.
Smithsonian Institution museums, Washington, D.C.
Minneapolis Institute of Art
Saint Louis Art Museum
Cleveland Museum of Art
Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City
Menil Collection, Houston
Walters Art Museum, Baltimore
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond
Cincinnati Art Museum
Yale Center for British Art and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven

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-- Mike Boehm

Photo:  Artist's rendering of what the Exposition Park campus of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County will look like when ongoing renovations and landscaping are completed. Credit: Natural History Museum and CO Architects 


 
Comments () | Archives (2)

My kids and I spent many days in Washington, DC visiting the museums. It was an hour and a half drive. They were and still are free. In Baltimore where we lived all of the musuems had fees. We only visited them two or three times in many years. My kids grew up enjoying museums and want to pass that love to their kids. Unfortunately, it is now so expensive that musuems are a treat only to be had every few years. It is sad to see that museums are now only someplace you visit on a once a year vacation or not at all. These organizations think the only way to get enough revenue to exist is to raise their fees. Maybe the answer is to lower the fees to allow more people to go to the musuems. Their solutions remind me of the company I worked for for 30 years who thought that the only way to increase revenues was to raise rates. Only when competition hit did they finally get that lower rates brought in much more revenue.

Those prices would be laughable in Canada - we've been paying close to the new admission rates for years and have not been all that happy about them. It is an expensive venture for most families to enjoy a visit to a major gallery or museum especially in Toronto. That is a shame because of the great educational experience the visits can mean. Unfortunately for many the old school field trip to the museum (if subsidized) may be the only time a kid gets to go. That or the so called free evening hours - two squeezed or hustled hours at inconvenient times. The impact of the gesture is lost in the hollowness of the skewed benevolence.


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