The Washington Post
When ‘Free’ Isn’t Really
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