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Object Name: Button
Date: 2013
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Medium: Tin
Dimensions: Overall: 1 5/8 × 1in. (4.1 × 2.5 cm)
Place made: United States, New York
Description: Dark blue ("Midnight") colored admission button with Metropolitan Museum of Art "M" logo in white; one-inch diameter circle with fold-over tab.
Credit Line: Gift of Harold Holzer
Object Number: 2014.14.3
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art introduced metal admission buttons on January 1, 1971, replacing an envelope-sized, two-color ticket. As a form of souvenir, they became a key component of the MMA’s brand and visitor experience, influencing other U.S. museums to implement their own versions.

A set of sixteen colors represents the last iteration of buttons and features the museum’s “M” logo, adapted from a woodcut letterform illustration (after a Leonardo da Vinci drawing) in Fra Luca Pacioli’s De divina proportione (1509). The colors, randomly selected for each day’s use, possessed evocative in-house names. By 2013, Kraus & Sons, Inc., a signage company in New York City, manufactured them in orders of 1.6 million, four times per year.

Due to rising production costs and a six-fold increase in annual attendance since the buttons’ inception, museum administrators replaced them with less expensive paper stickers on Monday, July 1, 2013, to coincide with its move to a seven-day schedule.