Friday, April 27, 2012

California Academy of Sciences Tops Most Expensive U.S. Museums

How would you like to spend $30 to go to a museum? That's the amount you will have to shell out if you want to enjoy the California Academy of Sciences.

The San Francisco, Calif.-based museum tops Consumer Search's top 20 most expensive museums in the U.S. Other institutions that made this dubious list were New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art ($25; recommended price), Boston's Museum of Fine Arts ($22), and Washington, D.C.'s International Spy Museum ($19.95).

Museums are mostly nonprofits and thus free from property taxes, which would lead the average citizen to believe they should be relatively cheap to enter. This seems like a rational thought, but there's a number of issues. The pieces that appear in these museums can sometimes go for millions of dollars and those prices have to be subsidized somehow. Museums also have legions of curators, art restorers, and researches on staff, and they don't come cheap either. Finally, government grants to museums have continually decreased in value, according to a study by USA Today.

There are ways to avoid these steep prices. Many of these museums allow visitors to purchase annual memberships which reduce the prices of tickets. There are also some institutions that have free admission on weekends and certain times. Yet D.C. seems to have the best deal: Most of the museums there, outside of the Spy Museum, are free. This includes the National Gallery of Art and the Air and Space Museum.

Want to see Consumer Search's full list? Head on over to their website and see which museums will cost you the most.

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