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© John Roca/New York Daily News
A model of National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum. The museum portion will be one of the costliest in town to visit, with an admission price of $24.
Relatives of 9/11 victims criticized the $24 fee.

A visit to the new National Sept. 11 Memorial Museum in New York City will be one of the costliest museum tickets in town.

Lacking government funding for its operations, the memorial's board of trustees voted Thursday to set a $24 admission price when the museum opens in May.

Families of 9/11 victims will not be charged, and there will be discounts for children, senior citizens and students. In addition, admission will be free to everyone for three hours every Tuesday evening.

The memorial's president, Joe Daniels, said the board had no choice but to charge a steep fee.

"The 9/11 Memorial does not yet receive government support for ongoing operations as many other important museums of our national history do," he said.

The board set the museum's annual operating budget at $63 million, including $10 million in security costs "for a site that has been attacked twice."

Ticket and concession sales are projected to cover two-thirds of the budget. The board hopes fundraising will cover the rest.

"A museum admissions [charge] will also ensure the Memorial, which has had more than 11.5 million visitors since opening two years ago, will be free."

"I just can't believe they would charge anyone," said Bill Doyle, whose son, Joseph, died on 9/11. "The Vietnam, Pearl Harbor memorials have free admission. The economy isn't that great, a lot of people are struggling."

The board is hoping Congress or City Hall provides funding. As mayor, Michael Bloomberg said any operating subsidies should be a federal responsibility because 9/11 was a national event.

At $24, admission to the museum will cost more than a trip to the Guggenheim, which charges $22 a person, and about the same as a ticket to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has a $25 suggested admission price.

While the Met's admission is only a suggested fee, the $24 payment will be required to visit the 9/11 museum.