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As Andrew Russeth has pointed out in , the move was largely symbolic: Because it raised the price for children, it didn’t actually make the High much more affordable to families.Suffolk notes that the High relies on admission income slightly more than most museums (it accounts for 8 percent of its operating budget, a few percentage points above the industry standard).“That was a fundamental shift for us.” For years, the High Museum had one of the highest general admission fees outside of New York City.(One ticket cost .50 for adults; seniors and students cost each; children were .) Last year, however, the museum opted to overhaul its tiered structure and charge everyone the same price: .50.In recent years, the High has also seen a radical change in the demographics of its docents—the people who guide students and visitors through the museum and may be the first faces they see when they enter.In 2014, the incoming class of docents was 11 percent people of color. Suffolk says he can’t take much credit for this one.“For all intents and purposes, I’m the chief diversity officer of our organization.” Of course, the High isn’t the only institution working successfully to change the demographics of its audience.
“We’re doing away with highlighting one gateway for people to connect with the museum,” Suffolk says.
“Truly on their own they have bought into the idea and said, ‘We need to diversify who we are,’” he says.
A year and a half ago, the docents created a committee dedicated to diversity and inclusion.
It’s a fact the art world has long known: Museums in the US have a diversity problem.
The demographics of museum audiences and staff are wildly out of step with the country’s population.