Stephanie Holmes is the Herald's Deputy Travel Editor.

Should international tourists be charged for museum entry?

22 comments

Twenty-five dollars seems a hefty price for tourists to pay to access Auckland's War Memorial Museum, writes Stephanie Holmes.

The Auckland War Memorial Museum is free for city residents, with donations invited from out-of-towners.
The Auckland War Memorial Museum is free for city residents, with donations invited from out-of-towners.

In 2012 a group of New York bloggers challenged themselves to visit every single museum and gallery in the city within a year. They excluded 22 they had already visited, but were still left with a massive 113 on their list, meaning every weekend was spent trekking around the city's five boroughs, visiting everything from a showcase of handcrafts made by prison inmates, to a tattoo museum on Staten Island.

One of the group dropped out, citing fatigue. And surely there's no way they could have fully digested all the things they were seeing. For the bloggers, each stop must have been a once around lightly; art for art's sake, if you will.

But one of the great things the bloggers would have discovered is that more than 20 of New York's museums have free admission year-round. Plenty of others are free on certain days of the week or month (check nycgo.com for a list).

We're fortunate that entry is free to New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa. In Auckland, the War Memorial Museum is free for city residents, with donations invited from out-of-towners. But on a recent visit, I was surprised to discover that international visitors have to pay a $25 admission fee ($60 for a family pass for two adults and up to four kids).

I'm sure keeping such an impressive institution running doesn't come cheap, but $25 seems quite a hefty price to pay - particularly when there is often an additional entry fee for special exhibitions.

This year, New York's Met Museum revised their ticket price to a "suggested" $25 and visitors can pay what they like. Perhaps Auckland's War Memorial Museum should follow suit?

- NZ Herald

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Stephanie Holmes is the Herald's Deputy Travel Editor.

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