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Metropolitan Museum mulls setting fixed admission fee

NEW YORK: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the world's most visited museums, is in talks with New York City officials about charging a fixed admission fee for out-of-town visitors, rather than urging a donation, the city said on Wednesday.

The museum, the largest in the US, sits on the edge of Central Park on land leased rent-free by the city in 1878 on condition that the museum be free to the public.

Since 1971, it has charged visitors what it calls a "suggested" fee, currently US$25 (S$35), though many visitors opt to pay less.

"We have spoken to the Metropolitan Museum about the possibility of changing its admission structure - not for New Yorkers, but for out-of-town visitors," Mr Tom Finkelpearl, the city's cultural affairs commissioner, said in a statement.

"Should we receive a formal proposal, we will consider it."

Ms Ann Bailis, a museum spokesman, said the latest talks were only "preliminary".

It was unclear how much the admission fee would be if it comes to pass.

The museum receives more than six million visitors a year, more than two-thirds of whom are from outside the city. It received US$27 million in support from New York City last year. - REUTERS

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