FA Educates Key Met Museum Philanthropists on How to Help Secure New Yorkers’ Rights to Free Admission to the Museum

FA Founder, Pat Nicholson, has begun to reach out to key philanthropists who regularly donate to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (“Museum” or “Met Museum”)

  • to ensure that they are aware that an 1878 Lease requires the City to provide rent-free tenancy of Central Park buildings to the Museum in exchange for New Yorkers having free-of-any-charge access to “its exhibition halls … four days in a week [closed on Sundays]”;
  • to ensure that they are aware that unamended and unrepealed Ch. 476 of the Laws of 1893 expanded the days and times New Yorkers were provided free of charge access to five days [with one being Sunday afternoon] and two evenings in a week;
  • to ensure that they are aware that the Museum’s current admissions policy [which requires New Yorkers to “pay an amount [that] is up to you”], in effect violates unamended and unrepealed Ch. 476 of the Laws of 1893. [see FA’s Expanded Efforts on this website];
  • to ensure that they are aware that in giving philanthropic dollars to the Museum via its Real Estate Council and Corporate Sponsor programs [to name two] containing free admission as a benefit [“courtesy cards”], they in effect are “unwittingly” supporting what FA considers to be a deceptive admissions policy, [see FA’s About Us section];
  • to ask these key philanthropists to please urge the Museum to comply with New York State law by following the steps FA recommends below; and
  • to show appreciation for their assistance. 


FA is beginning by reaching out to the members of the Met Museum’s Real Estate Council and Corporate Patrons to encourage them to broker change from within.  Through this blog and direct outreach, FA is recommending that these generous philanthropists do the following:

  • Pause for a moment to consider the free admissions provisions of the 1878 Lease and Ch. 476 ; [terms spelled out in FA’s History section]
  • After considering the provisions spelled out in the Lease and 1893 Law, if they agree with FA that the Museum’s current admission policy [requiring New Yorkers to pay a fee, the amount of which “is up to (them)]” is not in compliance with the terms of the Lease and Law, that they contact the Museum’s development office and request to re-negotiate their company’s current [or future, if expiring] sponsorship package; and
  • Support Free Admission by also letting the development office know that you/your company/philanthropy will continue giving only if the Museum changes its admission policy to [a] comply with the Lease and Ch. 476 and [b] ensure its on-site signage and print material (and any related policies/procedures) reflects Free Admission for all New Yorkers.


FA regularly monitors the Museum’s procedures/signage to assess and report on its progress towards Free Admission. [Please note, FA explains on this website, that in May of 2018, Judge Shirley Kornreich of the New York State Supreme Court ruled that the Museum’s signage was “confusing.”] We are now urging these generous and supportive benefactors to support all New Yorkers – including their own employees – by asking the Museum to make signage accurate per the state’s laws so that it does indeed read “Free Admission For All New Yorkers”.

We at FA support and thank all of these key benefactors to the arts in this city and state for what they do and the help they already give and simply ask them to ensure that the Museum complies with laws that make it possible for all New Yorkers to enter the Museum “free of any charge” knowing that the Museum exists rent-free in exchange for this free admission. FA estimates that the Museum benefits from free-rent in an amount approximating 750 Million Dollars Annually. [As has been reported in the media, the signage now makes it appear that admission is $25 for adults and many New Yorkers are too embarrassed to give less than that – including school groups, families, etc.]

As a “thank you”, FA will add the names of assisting philanthropists to an “honor roll” list to launch shortly on this website.

FA is hopeful that those who choose to invest philanthropic dollars, care that those dollars fund legally-compliant institutions. 

Pat Nicholson is available to answer your questions. Please email freeparkcampus@gmail.com

NOTE:  see the Real Estate Council and Corporate Patron lists on the Met Museum’s website

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