Museum admission, in case you hadn’t noticed, has kept pace with the rising cost of everything, if not outpacing it significantly in recent years.
It can be daunting for some, and can discourage people from investigating museums they don’t already patronize.
Smithsonian magazine, an offshoot of the venerable group of cultural institutions in the U.S. capital that are always open free to the public, sponsors an annual Museum Day, in which participating museums waive their normal entry fee for visitors who arrange online for a free ticket.
This Saturday, September 25, 2010, is the sixth annual event.
Over 1,000 museums of various kinds are participating across the country. You may find some disappointing hold-outs, of course, but there are also some terrific museums participating that are normally not open for free.
There is a mini-site for the event with an interactive Google-style map that allows you to zoom in on a geographic area and look for museums of interest. You can also narrow the search with a state selection drop-down below the map.
You need to get your free ticket ahead of time. For this you have to cough up your physical and email address, and the ticket (admission for 2) is emailed to you. There is a limit of one two-person ticket per household.
The drop-down choice for “Which Museum Day location do you plan on visiting” in the ticket request form also serves as a quick list of participating museums, arranged by state.
The motto for the event is “Take your brain on a field trip.”
[Via the New York Times]
(Images above, some participating museums in my area: The Delaware Art Museum, The Museum of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, The Brandywine River Museum)
For those who wish for more free museum days, check the websites of your local museums in their “hours and admission” sections. You may be surprised at how many have sporadic or regular periods of free or reduced admission, sometimes courtesy of corporate sponsors. (If you’re a Bank of America customer, check out their “Museums on Us” program.)
Also, if you visit museums enough to make a membership a good investment, see my post on the North American Reciprocal Museum Program. This grants you membership privileges to over 350 museums for a higher than usual membership level at one of the participating museums (in places, as little as $100.00).