Beginning Feb. 1, it will cost more to enter the Museum of Science and Industry and the Chicago History Museum.
The admission-fee hikes were approved Wednesday by the Chicago Park District Board to help offset increased costs in building maintenance and operations for both museums, which sit on parkland.
Park Board Commissioner M. Laird Koldyke said the board doesn’t take such fee increases lightly.
“It’s important to point out in Chicago, where civic, public and private partnerships are so important, this validates those partnerships as part of the fabric of this city,” he said. “These museums, all of them, they bring people to this city,” Koldyke said.
That includes Chicago Public Schools students, he added.
“If you look at all the other forms of entertainment, whether it’s professional teams or movie theaters or concerts, this ticket-price increase pales compared to what’s happened in the truly private sector,” Koldyke said.
The new fees represent the first increase since 2013 for the Museum of Science and Industry. The Chicago History Museum last got a fee increase in 2016.
To enter the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicagoans 12 and up will pay $16.95, an increase from $15. Chicago children ages 3 to 11 will pay $9.95, a nickel less than the current $10 fee.
Adults who live outside the city will be charged $21.95, up from $18, and children living outside the city will be charged $12.95, up from $11.
Free entry for children under 3 will remain.
At the Chicago History Museum, Chicago adults will pay $17, up from $14, and other Illinois residents and tourists $19, up from $16.
A $2 discount will be offered to Illinois adults ages 19 to 22, in-state seniors 65 and older, and out-of-state visitors 13 to 22.
Wednesday’s approval also means free admission will be extended to Illinois teens at the Chicago History Museum, similar to what the Museum of Contemporary Art put in place in 2017 for all teens and what the Art Institute did for Chicago teens courtesy of private gifts.
Previously, the history museum charged $12 for children ages 13 to 18 if they lived in the city and $14 if they didn’t.
All children 12 and younger get in for free.
Museums have free days for Illinois residents. Additionally, they allow free admission to school groups, but some charge extra for special exhibits.
Revenue generated by admission fees helps pay for operating expenses at museums. Other revenue sources include financial contributions, grants, investment income and special events.
Admission fees supplement an annual subsidy of $29.6 million from property tax revenue that gets divvied up among the 11 museums on Park District property.
In total, more than 8.5 million people visited the 11 museums on Park District property, referred to as Museums in the Park, in 2016, the latest figures available. The 11 museums on Park District property are Adler Planetarium, Art Institute, Chicago History Museum, DuSable Museum of African American History, Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, Museum of Contemporary Art, Shedd Aquarium, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, National Museum of Mexican Art, and National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture.
The move to raise admission fees at MSI and the Chicago History Museum follows recent entry-fee hikes at other Chicago institutions. In 2017, the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and the MCA raised fees for some visitors. The Field Museum and Art Institute raised entry fees in 2015.
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