courtesy of ‘Paige Weaver’
It’s difficult in this town to compete with the quality and price of the Smithsonian. DC is uniquely blessed with such incredible public museums that private museums often have to compete, and while they often do it incredibly well, it’s tough to see one move from a free model to one supported by admission fees. The National Building Museum announced today that by the end of the month they will be charging an $8 fee for adults, and a $5 fee for children, students, and seniors.
The museum had begun charging for special exhibits in 2010, with the debut of the Lego buildings exhibit running $5 per patron. The NBM joins the Corcoran, the International Spy Museum, the Newseum, and other quality private museums in charging an admission fee. I can’t be too upset, given the incredible quality of the NBM, and the reasonable-ness of the admission fee, that the museum is making the change. Maybe this will mean fewer events like the terrible Late Night Shots party from a few years ago.
I’m sad about this as well, though I’ve often thought it’s time to just get a membership there to support them. It is the museum where I spend the most time.
One quibble: per the NBM website, it’s admission for exhibits only. So while the net effect is pay if you want to see something, you can at least get in the building & sit by the fountain for free (unlike, say, at the Newseum or other admission based museum). “Public access to the Great Hall, Museum Shop, and cafe in the Museum’s landmark historic building will continue to be free, as will the Museum’s docent-led historic building tours. The Museum’s three annual family festivals‒Discover Engineering Family Day, the National Cherry Blossom Family Festival, and the Big Build‒will remain free to all.”