Not surprised, really. Tourists are often easy targets for revenue generating ideas (special taxes on hotels, car rentals, etc.). No matter the price, visiting the museums of Chicago is still worth the expense.
The Big Squeeze confronts every facet of the economy and will soon hit culture-craving visitors to Chicago from places like Des Moines, Berlin and Buenos Aires.
A nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization providing local coverage of Chicago and the surrounding area for The New York Times. More From the Chicago News Cooperative » Their free ride on free days is about to end. As it does, we can wonder how else we might monetize the city’s 40 million annual visitors.
Very quietly, a consortium of museums has persuaded the Illinois legislature to allow them to charge entry fees to out-of-staters on the 52 free museum days each year mandated by the General Assembly.
The bill, approved unanimously, is on the desk of the Hamlet of Springfield, Gov. Pat Quinn, who presumably will need less time to mull whether to sign this one than he took agonizing over abolition of the death penalty.
Gary Johnson, president of the Chicago History Museum, led the charge as head of Museums in the Parks. That group comprises the Adler Planetarium, Art Institute of Chicago, DuSable Museum of African American History, Field Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Science and Industry, National Museum of Mexican Art, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, John G. Shedd Aquarium and Johnson’s home base in Lincoln Park.
The legislature’s jurisdiction originally involved museums on public parkland, back in an era in which the state gave them operating money. It no longer does, but some still get local help, like the aid Chicago’s museums get from the Park District.
Currently, Chicago’s museums must have 52 days when admission is free even to out-of-staters. They’ve argued for years that they labor under a de facto unfunded state mandate and, with budgets tight, need help.
(click here to continue reading Chicago Museums To Charge Out-of-Staters on Free Days – NYTimes.com.)
and because of this:
Nationally, Chicago appears to offer more freebies than any big city, with the exception of Washington, where so many museums are subsidized by all of us. “We’re off the charts,” another Chicago museum leader told me.
On a personal note, I moved to Chicago because the first time I visited here, as a broke-ass college student, with a vanload of friends hepped up on something or other, I went to the Art Institute when admission was whatever you wanted to pay1, and was so impressed that suddenly Chicago jumped to the top of the list of cities I wanted to live in. But I understand that in the 21st Century, art is not a priority, and has to pay its own way.
- I paid a dollar [↩]