The popular Museum Day event sponsored by Smithsonian magazine returns this year. More than 700 museums across the country will offer free admission to visitors with tickets on Sept. 17. Tickets are available to download starting at midnight on Monday, Aug. 15.
Museum Day was started in 2005 as a celebration of Smithsonian’s 35th birthday; the annual event was paused in 2020 due to the pandemic but resumed last year.
“It is a way for us to provide additional access for the community,” says Cat Jensen, guest services coordinator at the Center for Colorado Women’s History. Most museums in the state charge admission, so waiving the fee helps draw people in. “Any way that we can provide that additional access, I think is really important.”
This year’s list includes the International Museum of Art & Science in McAllen, Texas; the Museum of World Treasures in Wichita, Kansas; the Wright Museum of World War II in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire; and Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West in Scottsdale, Arizona.
There are also a number of niche museums on the list, including the National Watch & Clock Museum in Columbia, Pennsylvania, and the USGA Golf Museum and Library in Liberty Corner, New Jersey.
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Free admission can mean substantial savings, especially in the case of the pricier museums, such as the Cosmosphere, a space museum in Hutchinson, Kansas, where adults over age 60 pay $23.50, or the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City, where general admission starts at $33. More than 81,000 Museum Day tickets were downloaded last year.
To secure tickets, visit the Smithsonian magazine website and select “Get a Ticket” at the top of the page (not available before midnight on Aug. 15). Search the list of available museums, make a selection, and enter your name and email address to download and/or email the free pass. Note: Only one ticket can be downloaded per email address; each ticket provides free general admission for two people on Sept. 17.
Also good news: More free programs and classes for people age 55 and older are in the works for this fall and next year.
The Vitality Arts Project for Art Museums recently announced a list of nine prominent museums that are developing programs aimed at engaging older adults in creative forms of expression. The initiative is sponsored by E.A. Michelson Philanthropy, a private foundation, to help museums engage diverse audiences in learning about, making and sharing art.
Here’s a preview of what to expect.
New York City-based journalist Lina Zeldovich has written for Afar, the BBC, Popular Science and The New York Times.