Beginning Sunday, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will charge $20 for a single adult ticket, a 25 percent increase over its current $16 general admission tickets and the first such increase for the museum since 2009, officials said Friday.

The museum salved the pain by making all tickets good for two days and by extending Wednesday evening hours from 5 to 9 on a "pay what you wish" basis, beginning in the fall.

Visitors currently can pay what they wish on the first Sunday of every month; that policy will remain in effect. Children under 12 will still be admitted free, and membership prices are unaffected.

The $20 admission will make the museum's general admission the highest-priced ticket for any museum in the city. The Barnes Foundation, just opened on the Parkway, charges $18. The Franklin Institute charges $16.50, although that price quickly rises to $24.50 for visitors who wish to go to the IMAX and Franklin theaters there.

"While we have decided to increase our general admission fee, which we believe is in line with prices charged by peer institutions across the country, we have also broadened our commitment to ensuring that the museum remains accessible to a wide public, and that is why we will be expanding access and hours on Wednesday evenings," Timothy Rub, the museum's director and chief executive, said in a statement.

In New York City, the Metropolitan Museum of Art recommends that museumgoers pay $25, although visitors may actually pay what they wish at all times, a fact the Met does not aggressively promote. New York's Museum of Modern Art charges $25. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts charges $22.

In addition to the new prices, the Art Museum announced Friday that it will also, for the first time, offer free shuttle-bus service among its three key facilities - the main building and sculpture garden, the Perelman building across Kelly Drive, and the Rodin Museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which has been closed for refurbishing and reopens July 13.

Rub called the two-day ticket "an attractive way for visitors" to take in more of the museum's offerings. Visitors will be able to use the ticket on any two consecutive days of operation. Rub also said prices for special exhibitions would be unaffected by the new general admission prices.

Currently, general admission plus a ticket to the museum's "Visions of Arcadia" exhibition costs $25. That price will remain the same following Sunday's increase.

A museum spokesman said there would be a "narrowing gap" between general admission and special exhibition prices in the future.

Museum officials said the decision to increase general admission prices reflects the importance of earned income in addressing the rising costs of museum operations and programs.

In addition to the new single adult prices, there will also be an increase in student admission to $14 (it has been $12). Senior citizens will now be charged $18 (previously $14); admission to the Perelman Building only will be $10 (previously $8); and admission to the Rodin Museum will remain pay what you wish (suggested admission, $8) at all times.

Contact culture writer Stephan Salisbury at 215-854-5594,, or @SPSalisbury on Twitter.