How to get free or cheap entry to the museum

A trip to the museum can provide a much needed dose of history and culture; after all, you can’t get close to dinosaur bones or Vincent van Gogh’s expressive brushstrokes just anywhere.

Access to valuable works of art, artifacts and experiences can seem budget, but there are ways to avoid or lessen the cost.

Here’s how to visit a museum for free or at low cost.

Book your tickets with your library card

Looking to explore the art and culture of your community? In cities like Seattle and Boston, you can get free passes to local museums through the public library system. This usually requires nothing more than a valid library card and a quick phone call or visit to your library’s website for setup.

Take advantage of the advantages of banks or credit unions

Some financial institutions offer their clients free or reduced admission to the museum. Through the “Museums about us», Bank of America credit or debit cardholders who present their credit or debit card and photo ID can get free general admission to select museums on the first full weekend of each month .

Not a Bank of America member? Check with your financial institution to see if a similar offer is available to you.

One-day visit with free or reduced admission

Check the calendar before planning a trip. Many museums allow visitors little or no charge on certain days or at certain times. General admission to the de Young and Legion of Honor Museums in San Francisco, regularly $ 15 each, is free every Saturday for city residents with ID and free for everyone on the first Tuesday of every month.

Check the calendar before planning a trip. Many museums allow visitors little or no charge on certain days or at certain times.

Other venues, such as the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, DC and the Getty Center in Los Angeles, are always free.

Look for flexible pricing policies

Museum prices are not always fixed. You can sometimes pay less by booking your ticket in advance. For example, you’ll save $ 3 per ticket to Boston’s Museum of Science by purchasing at least one day before your visit.

Museums sometimes offer retail prices, but give you the option of “paying what you want”. This is the case at the American Museum of Natural History in New York if you’re buying at the box office, for example. It never hurts to read the fine print.

Use military, senior or other discounts

As is often the case in theaters and retail stores, some museums offer customers discounts based on age, occupation or other criteria. Those with military, teacher, student, senior or other status can often take a break. Find out from some places about special rates you may be eligible for, and be prepared to show the appropriate verification, such as a driver’s license or military ID, upon entry.

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