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For the first time in half a century, visitors to the world’s largest cultural institution, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will have to pay a mandatory admission fee of $25 if they do not live in New York State under a new policy that begins March 1, the museum announced on Thursday.

The change reflects the Met’s efforts to establish a reliable, annual revenue stream after a period of financial turbulence and leadership turmoil, particularly given what the Met describes as a sharp decline in people willing to pay the current “suggested” admission price, also $25. But the move could provoke objections from suburbanites and tourists as well as outcry from those who believe a taxpayer funded institution should be free to the public.

“What we’re trying to do is find the right balance in generating revenue to support this enterprise and admissions income has fallen behind,” Daniel Weiss, the Met’s president and chief executive officer, said in an interview. “Everybody who benefits from this institution is being asked to contribute to its well-being because we are fundamentally a community resource.”

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People on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Wednesday. Beginning in March, the Met will eliminate its pay-as-you-wish policy for people who do not live in New York, charging adults $25 for admission.CreditAndrew White for The New York Times

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