Chicago History Museum Hikes Admission by $2

Inside the Chicago History Museum (Mr Hicks46 / Flickr)Inside the Chicago History Museum (Mr Hicks46 / Flickr)

Those looking to visit the Chicago History Museum will now shell out $2 more, with the cost of tickets for adult residents of the city going from $12 to $14. 

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The Chicago Park District board unanimously approved the hike Wednesday, citing the museum’s lack of admission increases over the past 10 years. 

The increase will take effect April 1. Chicago seniors and students will see an increase from $10 to $12, while admission for children under age 12 will continue to be free. Ticket prices for adult nonresidents will go from $14 to $16, with student and senior ticket prices increasing to $14.

Chicago History Museum President Gary Johnson estimates the admission hike will generate between $95,000 and $100,000 per year in additional revenue for the museum.

During public comment, Chicago-based accountant John Wizgird advised the board to hold off on its vote, pointing to state legislation passed in 2011 that resulted in a narrowing of free days for many of Chicago's large museums. While the state had previoulsy mandated that 52 free days be available to all museum attendees, those free days are now available only to state residents.  

The next free day for Illinois residents at the museum is July 4, according to the museum's website.

"This change resulted in an increase in revenue for the museum, but was not mentioned in the board letter," Wizgird said, referring to the statement the History Museum had presented to the board. "I would like to know why this information was not included in the board letter and I would like to know how much revenue that actually increased at the museum and I think that's something the board should know before they vote on it."

Wizgird also cited pending legislation in the Illinois House of Representatives which would effectively reduce the state's free day requirement for museums by half, from 52 to 26 days. That legislation currently sits in the House's Rules Committee. 

His statement drew no comment from the Park District Board. However, Johnson later spoke to Wizgird's concerns. 

"I imagine that [the change in free days] wasn't included in the Park District summary because that was a matter of state action," said Johnson, adding that the History Museum "benefited less" from that change than most other institutions comprising Museums in the Park – the elite collective which receives Park District funding – considering the museum's high number of state and city visitors. 

As to the pending state legislation around free days, Johnson said it was a nonissue.

"Our understanding is that that bill is dead. We're not involved in any activity to change the free day requirement," he said. 

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