For the first time in over 40 years, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art will open its doors Monday, and on every Monday. Many museums close one day a week to cut costs, but more feel they can’t afford that day off.
Six million people visited the Met last year, and that doesn’t include those who tried to get in when it was closed.
“Almost every Monday, tourists have made their way resolutely up the steps on 82nd Street and 5th Avenue and asked, ‘Can it be true we’re not open?’ So we know there’s an appetite,” says Harold Holzer, a senior vice president at the Met. He says this isn’t about raising more money.
“It’s going to be costly, we’re not expecting this in any way to be a windfall. It really is a response to our commitment to public access.”
The Museum of Modern Art recently got rid of its one day off. Many Washington, DC, museums are open seven days a week, some until well after dark. The Hirshhorn even hosts summer late night dance parties.
Ford Bell, president of the American Alliance of Museums, says the recession actually boosted demand.
“We always joke that when times get tough, Americans always turn to museums,” he says.
Bell says last year museums had 850 million visitors. That’s more than all major U.S. sporting events drew — combined.
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