The Washington Post

When ‘Free’ Isn’t Really

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Regarding the June 16 Style article “Norton to Samper: What, Butterflie­s Aren’t Free?” about the reaction of Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) to the Smithsonia­n Institutio­n’s plan to charge $5 for admission to a butterfly exhibit scheduled to open in November at the Museum of Natural History:

While I can sympathize with Ms. Norton’s determinat­ion that the Smithsonia­n remain free, I believe that Elvis has already left the building on that one.

I would defy Ms. Norton to start with a full tank of gas in her vehicle and zero dollars in her pocket and figure out how to get into the Smithsonia­n’s Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles without having to pay something. Call it whatever you want (parking charge, bus fare, etc.), but if it comes out of my pocket, and I cannot get in without paying it, then it’s an admission fee. DONALD DESROSIERS

Falls Church

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