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Do Museum Admissions Correlate With Director Salaries?

An Observer piece on MOCA's free admission plan offers a quote from Gary Vikan, former director of Baltimore's Walters Art Gallery. Vikan, an advocate of free admission, says there is a "correlation between what's charged at the front door and what the CEO of the museum makes."

I made a quick scatter chart, using a few art museum director salaries from the Charity Navigator website and regular adult admission charges from museums' websites. Some of the salaries are a few years old.

There is a modest upward trend in director salaries with rising admission charge. But almost all the correlation, such as it is, is due to two New York outliers, the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum Modern of Art, which pay far bigger salaries than any other institution ($2.69 million for the Met). Both charge $25 admission. Otherwise major free museums pay their directors about as much as their admission-charging peers do.

Here's a stronger correlation. The UCLA Hammer Museu…

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