An Expensive Crystal
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An Expensive Crystal

2007_06_18crystalopening.jpg The Louvre. Tate Modern. SFMOMA. Guggenheim. What do these places all have in common? They’re all top-notch, world-renowned museums, yes. But beyond the most obvious answer, they’re also all located in some of the most notoriously expensive cities in the world and they still manage to offer better admission deals than the newly-renovated ROM.
The ROM has quietly jacked up the price of its cheap(er than the other) nights. Previously, Friday evenings from 4:30–9:30 p.m. at the ROM were $5 for adults and $2.50 for children. Now, the price has risen to $10 for adults and $5 for children. With regular admission at a whopping $20 for adults, $17 for students and seniors and $14 for children 4–14, Friday nights were likely the only time many, especially families, could afford to visit. With the price on Fridays now doubled, the ROM is being pushed even further out of the realm of affordability. This shouldn’t be happening at an institution that just received tens of millions of government dollars to fund its expansion. Everyone deserves an equal access to the ROM’s collections. For many of us, the $30 it would cost for a family with two adults and two children to visit the ROM on a Friday night wouldn’t be a problem. But for others, it’s simply out of reach.
It isn’t impossible to offer cheap, or even free, museum admission. The Louvre offers free admission to, among others, students, the unemployed or those receiving social assistance and visitors with disabilities and their guests/helpers (the ROM oddly requires that people with disabilities, often on a fixed income, pay the full fee, while one attendant gets in for free). Friday nights are also free for anyone under 26.
Tate Modern’s gallery is by donation at all times. At the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the already reasonable admission prices are cut in half on Thursday evenings. The first Tuesday of every month is free.
The Guggenheim offers Pay What You Wish on Friday nights, an arrangement that suits any budget. Even our own National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa has free Thursday evenings.
The ROM’s website proclaims that “the Crystal Age announces the Museum as the country’s premier cultural and social destination.” It’s an expansive claim for an institution whose rising prices will exclude many of Toronto’s residents.

Photo by andreakw from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.