Metropolitan Museum of Art retires beloved admission buttons

Credit: Bess Adler/Metro New York
Credit: Bess Adler/Metro New York

For decades, a shiny, colored button emblazed with an “M” was a mark of pride for tourists and New Yorkers who recently visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

But after 42 years, the Met retired the admission tokens Monday, citing the tin plate button’s rising costs and increased flexibility of a new paper ticketing system.

“I regret it slightly myself,” Thomas P. Campbell, the museum’s director, told The New York Times.

Each button costs about three cents, but to accommodate more than six million annual visitors, the museum orders about 1.6 million tokens four times a year, amounting to roughly $192,000 annually. A few years ago, the tokens were about two cents—$64,000 less.

“We realize, without sounding crass, that it’s a beloved brand and a beloved symbol,” Met spokesman Harold Holzer told the Times. “It just became too expensive. We saw that it was inevitable.”

Paper tickets, on the other hand, will only cost about a penny. They’re easier on the environment, too, as many visitors ignored the button-recycling bin at the museum’s exit and kept it as a souvenir.

The same day the Met converted to paper ticketing, the museum opened on a Monday for the first time since 1971, when “suggested” admission pricing was established and the buttons were first issued.

There have been hundreds of colors over time, but 16 colors, from a pale pink “piglet” to a dark blue “midnight,” were part of the final circulation.

The “M” is based on a 16th century book with woodcuts adapted from Leonardo da Vinci. As much as proof of purchase as a barge of honor, attempts to collect all colors were not unheard of.

“One of my assistants has a whole rainbow of the colored buttons on her desk,” Campbell said.

Ironically, the announcement signaling the end of the tokens features a graphic depicting their well-known likeness.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

Television

'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.