Monday, April 26, 2010

Your Two Cents...

Lion of Zion has an interesting question posted on his blog today. It is one that I have struggled with myself and I thought I'd put it to my readers as well.

He laments the exorbitant admission prices lately at New York museums and attractions. He notes that some of these exhibits offer a "suggested donation" option.

LOZ asks, "What do you do when museums request a "suggested donation" of x dollars? Do you pay it in its entirety? Do you pay nothing? Do you give a token donation? If the latter, how much?"

I feel his pain. While I recognize that organizing and maintaining these exhibits comes at a great cost and somebody must bear the burden, I also realize that it is difficult for families today to find stimulating and/or educational activities at low cost. My husband is forever mindful of not perpetuating the stereotype of "cheap Jew" (but then again, many non-Jews take advantage of the 'suggested donation' option....).

What are your thoughts?


Mystery Woman said...

I always pay whatever the suggested donation is...only because of chilul Hashem. I f we can't afford it, we don't go.

PinkDevora said...

I try to pay the suggested donation, but OTOH I am a college student (again), so I can usually pay a discounted rate.

Where I live, we can also borrow museum passes from the library for free admission! We can keep the passes for 3 days.

efrex said...

At the moment, I've been paying the full "suggested" donation, much as it puts a serious dent in the pocketbook.

It doesn't help out-of-towners all that much, but I plan to become a member of the Museum of Natural History as soon as the little ones are a bit older, and then have us go there several times a year. For $115 ($90 tax-deductible), you can get a family membership which gives free admission to two adults and up to four children.

G6 said...

PinkDevora -
Tell me more about these library passes. I've never heard about them. Is this New York City?

efrex -
Family memberships are a very good option, but they still don't help with many other 'attractions' (Have you seen what it's going to cost to get into the King Tut exhibit (and there's no suggested donation there at all!).

L said...

I believe that the places with suggested donations have it in order to be able to maintain that they do not only exist for the affluent. Their defense against charges of elitism : It is only suggested admission, we have provisions to let the less affluent/indigent get exposure to our great, enlightened culture too.

These institutions typically get funds from governments, foundations, companies, which would be sensitive to criticism that they don't serve the other than rich and affluent. So I wouldn't be too concerned about giving less than the 'suggested admission' if your funds are limited. That's why it is just suggested in the first place.

In general, for good deals, I recommend the NewYorkology website, and more specifically this part of it -

G6 said...

Great link L!

Anonymous said...

I rarely pay the "suggested amount." The museum I am thinking of is the Metropolitan -- and I don't know anyone other than tourists who pay the suggested amount. I usually donate about a dollar per room I plan to see - or per hour I plan to spend in the museum. Its a donation! Ish k'matnas yado....