N.Y. Museum Hits Attendance Record, Passing 7 Million

More than 7.35 million visitors went through the doors at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City last year, setting another attendance record, despite a new admission fee instituted in March.

The museum’s attendance figures include three locations: the flagship museum on Fifth Avenue, as well as The Met Cloisters, and The Met Breuer, which opened in 2016.

The latest numbers are for the fiscal year that ended June 30. It’s the eight consecutive year that attendance has surpassed 6 million. Overall attendance also surpassed 7 million during 2016.

The record-breaking attendance is largely attributed to the exhibit, “Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer,” which was on view from November to February and attracted more than 700,000 visitors. It’s the 10th most attended show in the museum’s history. Other popular exhibits in the past year were “David Hockney,” which attracted 363,877 visitors, and “Cristobal de Villalpando: Mexican Painter of the Baroque,” which attracted 256,339 visitors.

The first two months of The Costume Institute’s “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” which opened in May, already has attracted more than 500,000 visitors, and is on track to be one of the most attended exhibition’s in the museum’s history.

The museum announced in January that it would be updating its pay-what-you wish admissions policy. Effective March 1, visitors from outside New York are required to pay the admission fee of $25. Paid admission represented about 14 percent of overall revenue and in the past 13 years, the number of visitors who paid full admission declined by 73 percent, according to the museum.

The museum also received more than $250 million in gifts, membership contributions, and government support in the most recent fiscal year. It’s the highest amount in recent years and includes a gift of more than $80 million – the largest in the financial gift in recent history. It was a gift from Trustee Florence Irving and her late husband, Herbert Irving.

International visitors accounted for 34 percent of the museum’s attendees and local visitors from the city’s five borough’s comprised 32 percent of visitors. Some 13 percent of visitors were from the tri-state area outside of New York City.

Last year, The Metropolitan Museum of Art ranked No. 41 on the NPT 100, a study of the largest nonprofits in the nation, with $425 million in overall revenue for the fiscal year ending 2016. The majority of revenue, $282 million, came from public support, with another $128 million in investment income. Government support accounted for $18 million.

In its most recent tax filing in February, covering the fiscal year ending June 2017, The Met reported overall revenue of $573 million, including $249 million in contributions and $201 million in investment income.