Here's how to get into museums and art galleries for free all year long

Get access to fine art, science, history and much more, gratis.

Alina Bradford CNET Contributor
Alina Bradford has been writing how-tos, tech articles and more for almost two decades. She currently writes for CNET's Smart Home Section, MTVNews' tech section and for Live Science's reference section. Follow her on Twitter.
Alina Bradford
2 min read
Alina Bradford/CNET

Getting some culture at museums and art galleries is a great way to kick off the new year. Getting in free is even better. Starting this Saturday, Jan. 5 and Sunday, Jan. 6, admission to 200+ cultural institutions in 123 cities is free for Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and U.S. Trust debit and credit cardholders every first weekend of the month. All you need to do is show your card and photo ID.

Some participating locations include:

  • Pima Air and Space Museum (Tucson, Arizona)  
  • Delaware Museum of Natural History (Wilmington, Delaware)  
  • Reginald F. Lewis Museum (Baltimore, Maryland) 
  • Historic Fort Snelling (St. Paul, Minnesota)   
  • Currier Museum of Art (Manchester, New Hampshire) 
  • Boise Art Museum (Boise, Idaho)   
  • Farnsworth Art Museum (Rockland, Maine) 
  • Figge Art Museum (Davenport, Iowa) 
  • Gilcrease Museum (Tulsa, Oklahoma) 
  • SCAD Museum of Art (Savannah, Georgia)

Here's the full list of participating cities.

If you're busy this weekend, or you're not a cardholder at these banks, don't worry. Here are some other ways to get into your favorite museum for free all year long.

Show your military ID

The Blue Star Museums plan allows those with a military ID, along with their families, free museum entry from from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. To find participating museums, check this map.

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Go to the library

Some libraries let you check out more than movies and books. They'll also let you check out passes to museums and science centers. All you need to do is book the trip with your library a few weeks in advance. 

Participating city library systems include Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, New York, Dallas, Miami, Denver and Chicago.

Don't see your town? Call your local library or check out their website to see if it offers passes.

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Free days

Usually, museums have days where you can visit a museum for free without any tickets or special prep. You just need to know when these days are.

Some towns have a history or culture night once a year where all the local historical sites, town tours and museums are free to the public. To find out if your town is planning one of these days, call your local Chamber of Commerce.

During slow times of the year, museums will also have their own free days. Check their website or give the museum a call and simply ask if they have any free admission days coming up on the calendar. 

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