There are reasons for such proposal. Firstly, charging admission keeps a museum run healthily because it provides museums some funding for maintenance and expansion. As we generally know, building a museum with special characters and functions costs substantially more money than an ordinary residential building. Operation spending including security, staff salary and enriching the collections also need constant financial support. If all this cost has to come from taxation, that would be unfair to some taxpayers who do not visit museums at all. Also charging admission can compensate publicly funded museums for cuts in subsidy granted by the government and do not drop their service quality and security. Meanwhile this would not threaten other independent competitors which rely on their income from entry fees.
However, some people disagree with charging entry because they are convinced of some adverse impacts on the society. It is true that a museum is a venue about learning and enjoying as well. It is the access to vivid presentation of knowledge and local culture and history, and charging admission would decrease the number of visits, hence undermining the inspiration for knowledge and cultural heritage preservation and transmission. Another concern about charging admission of a museum is that a museum, as an important educational resource, may lose its educational function because some students in a disadvantaged position would be deprived of a museum tour.
In conclusion, although free access to a museum can promote culture and education, it leads to financial pressure on a museum. Accordingly students should be given a preference treatment and this can be effective with the government’s constant funding for student museum visit. Adults should be charged of admission to a museum. A virtual museum can be another promising option for those less well-off because it is much cheaper to build and run, and therefore can be provided free.
In this essay, I will examine the arguments for and against charging admission to
museums with particular attention paid to the benefits of free education.
In London there are many museums. Some, like the National Malory Museum or the British Museum are subsidized by the government and are therefore free of charge. Other, lake the John Soane’s Museum, are private affairs, charging a nominal fee which goes to maintenance and upkeep. Personally, I cannot think of example of a “for profit “museum, run like a business, although I would be surprised if they didn’t exist somewhere in the world.
Charging admission fees makes a certain kind of sense. Museum are usually large spaces, and must by necessity be well lit and ventilated, staffed with curators and experts, of course. By charging ( often priceless) kept under good security measures. None of these is free, of course. By charging admission, the museum can hope to earn back some money and not rely on the goodwill of governments and patrons alone to support it. While this makes economic sense, a museum is not an economic enterprise, so it follows that is line of argument is essentially redundant.
A museum is a repository of information and artifacts, meant to provide with a sense of continuity to the past. In essence, a museum is for all of us - a window into our collective past from which we may see the present from a slightly different, more informed, angle. An such, denying a segment of society the chance to visit may not have catastrophic effects, but by limiting the worldview of some, all people will suffer the effects of their ignorance, thus limiting humanity by steady increments.
Instead of viewing museums as something similar to a theme park or a cinema, it may perhaps be more helpful to think of them as roads - publicly owned and maintained arteries of civilisation.(323 words)