Field Museum

The Field Museum is done with 6 months of restructuring, hoping to be financially stable. The museum has lost many scientists which is hurting it's reputation as a research institution. (Phil Velasquez /Chicago Tribune / July 30, 2013)

The price to enter the Field Museum may go up for visitors who don't live in the city.

The Chicago Park District board of commissioners on Wednesday will consider authorizing an increase to the general admission fee and special passes for the Field Museum, which sits on park district property. However, there will be no increase for Chicago residents who receive a discount with proof of residency.

If approved, the increase would go into effect Jan. 1.

Earlier this year, the park district raised admission fees for the Art Institute and the Museum of Science and Industry.

Basic admission to the Field Museum, home to Sue the T. Rex, could go up by $3 for non-Chicago residents. With the proposed increase, admission fees would be $18 for adults, $15 for seniors or students with a valid ID, $13 for children ages 3 to 11, and free for children under 3 years old.

Meanwhile, admission for Chicago residents will continue to be $13 for adults, $10 for seniors or students with a valid ID, $8 for children ages 3 to 11 and free for children under 3 years old.

Passes that allow museum guests to gain access to special exhibitions also would increase up to $2 for non-Chicago residents.

"Our prices are in line with other comparable institutions both locally and nationally. Compared to other types of entertainment (theater, sporting events, etc.) a ticket to The Field Museum is a very good value," museum spokeswoman Nancy O'Shea said in an email.

In 2012, museum admission brought in $11.1 million of the $59.4 million in total operating revenues, according to its financial statements. The Field Museum hosts about 1.25 million visitors each year, O'Shea said.

She said the fee increase is necessary due to its increasing expenses for utilities and maintenance, which are outpacing revenues.

The Tribune reported earlier this year that the museum made cuts to its operating budget, offered early retirement packages to staff and merged departments to be more financially viable.

A park district document detailed financial problems facing the museum since 2008, such as flat revenue from its restaurants and gift shop, decreased endowment support and declining foundation and government grant opportunities. In addition, the city is now charging for water and sewer service and construction permits, which is estimated to cost the museum more than $170,000 in 2014.

The museum, O'Shea said, will continue to offer 52 "discount days" each year when Illinois residents can get into the museum for free.

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