How to Pay-What-You-Wish at NYC Museums, MET Cloisters, Inwood Park

How To Shamelessly Pay-What-You-Wish at NYC Museums

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Lots of museums and cultural institutions around NYC say that their admission fee is merely a suggested donation and that you can pay-what-you-wish. It’s a policy that’s supposed to make museums more accessible to people of all economic backgrounds. But even so, it’s not easy for me to roll up to a museum with the intent of only contributing my pocket change—and I’m guessing it’s not that easy for you either. But before you give in to your embarrassment and fork over the full price for admission, tell yourself these things:

This is not a big deal.

You’re just going to walk up to the counter and ask for one general admission ticket, and when the cashier asks for payment, you just hand them a dollar bill. Nothing bad is going to happen. The cashier is not going to bang a gong and expose you as a cheapskate. You’re not the first person they’ve seen do this, so they aren’t going to judge you. And if for some reason they do judge you, f*** ‘em; you’re not here to gain their approval. You’re here to experience the museum just like everyone else.

This was the museum’s idea, not yours.

If the museum didn’t want you to pay-what-you-wish, it wouldn’t have put this policy in place. If this museum is generous enough to want to share its exhibits with everyone regardless of what they can pay, it would be foolish of you to not take advantage of the offer.

At least you’re paying a full dollar.

A dollar is an amount that’s token but not disrespectful. Imagine striding up to the counter and slapping down a penny instead. What’s a mere penny going to do to keep the lights on at this place? A dollar is a hundred times better than that. If you still feel like that’s being too stingy, then give them two dollars. It won’t make you look too cheap, but it won’t hurt your wallet either.

Those are the things I remind myself before I pay what I wish at a museum. How do you talk yourself into it? Or do you feel better paying full price? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

One response to “How To Shamelessly Pay-What-You-Wish at NYC Museums”

  1. Perry Avatar

    We usually do a family party on – NYC sounds like it has some great options. Not sure I would want to leave my kids overnight.

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