Barnes Raises Ticket Prices So That People Will Stop Touching the Art

by Jillian Steinhauer on April 22, 2013


Visitors at the barnes. The man on the right knows not to touch anything, because he’s got an audio guide. The woman on the right is probably about to lunge for a painting. (Photo by R. Kennedy, via

Now that it’s been settled in its new location for almost a year, the Barnes Foundation is getting comfortable and raising ticket prices — which wouldn’t really be newsworthy if it weren’t for the reason they’re providing for the change. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the museum is overcrowded and lots of visitors don’t know how to behave. Barnes President Derek Gillman offered these choice words:

“We’re seeing many more people not familiar … with what is proper behavior.” He added that the gallery wanted those additional visitors, but with new gallerygoers “we’re seeing more transgressions of people touching things and getting too close” to the art, he said.

Popularity’s a bitch, ain’t it?

The new ticket price for adults, up to $22 from $18, now includes the audio guide, which tells visitors not to touch or get too close to the art. Another Inquirer article reports that Gillman himself will be heard on the guide, “accompanied by chamber music,” saying: “Please don’t sit on any of the chairs in the room. That’s what the benches are for.” So in theory, most people will now get the audio guide and be lulled into obedience. In practice, it sort of looks the museum is raising prices to stave off the masses. To be fair, though, the price increase is also meant to spread out the distribution of visitors, and tickets will remain at the old price level, $18, for the last three hours of every day.

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  • samktg

    God, maybe they should just retreat back to suburbia.

  • Jeffrey

    The perils of leaving your REAL home.

  • PradaStole

    I feel like there’s a missed opportunity here to talk about barriers to museum literacy. Not everyone knows how to orientate themselves within a traditional museum space. Who bears the burden of reversing this lack of education?

    • Mary L

      “Orient as a verb means to “find direction” or “give direction.” Orientate is not a word!

      • samktg

        If we’re going to start word-snarking A) not true, “orientate” is a variant of “orient” which you can find in the OED and certainly any online dictionary. B) You recognized the meaning of the word which… makes it a word, in the descriptivist sense anyway, which is really the only sense that matters. Irregardless, you are incorrect.

        • P.M. Willis

          LOL! Irregardless – good one

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