I love museums. And although I’m happy to support a museum by paying my fair share of admission fees, I won’t turn away a deal when I find one.

A family trip to the museum can cost you easily $50+ in admission passes, but not if you do your homework. Here are a few ways to get yourself in at bargain basement prices.

#1 Free Museum Days

During the summertime, “Free Fun Fridays” is a wonderful program happening through August 2017 where 80+ museums and other cultural institutions in Boston and Massachusetts offer free admission for everyone. And these trips don’t have to break the budget! Many of the locations on the list have on-site or nearby grassy areas to host a fun family picnic or rest under the summer sun. Coming up the next few weekends include the MIT Museum, Franklin Park Zoo, Old Sturbridge Village, The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, the USS Constitution Museum and more! Visit highlandstreet.org for more details.

Museum Day Live! is a fantastic annual event hosted by Smithsonian Media in which participating museums across the country open their doors to everyone presenting a Museum Day Live! Ticket on Saturday, September 23. In order to obtain free admission, visit their website to see a list of participating museums, and reserve your passes. Visit smithsonianmag.com for more info.

Many museums in the seacoast area and beyond offer free admissions for families weekly or monthly including The Currier Museum in Manchester. The Currier has Family Saturday with free admission for NH residents every second Saturday of the month. Arrive any time between 10am-12pm and stay free all day. There is a new theme each month and special kid-friendly programs, hands-on art activities, guided family gallery walks and more. Visit currier.org for more info.

#2 Discounted Admission Days

Friday nights are big with children’s museums circuit and offer families the opportunity to explore the exhibits and activities at huge discounts. Every first Friday of the month during the school year (starting in October), admission to the Children’s Museum of NH (childrens-museum.org) is only $3 from 3:00-8:00pm. Similarly, the Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine in Portland also has $2 admission every first Friday of the month from 5-8pm (kitetails.org). If you want to head south, the Boston Children’s Museum has admission every Friday night from 5-9pm for just $1 (bostonkids.org).

The Museum of Fine Art also has some great deals for families. Every day after 3pm and all weekends, kids under 17 are free. Adult tickets are normally $23 but see below about obtaining discounted passes from your local library. Before you go, check out the “Visiting with Kids” tab on their website (mfa.org) for info on family related programs and activities at the museum.

#3 Library Museum Passes

Did you know that your local library offers free and discounted admission to tons of museums? You need to have a library card to request passes (you can apply for one the same day) and be sure to plan ahead as they have a limited number for members to “borrow” and need to be reserved in advance. Visit your local library’s website for a list of museums offering discounted passes.

#4 Reciprocal Memberships

If you purchase a museum membership, many have a “reciprocal affiliation” so that you can also get free admission to affiliated museums locally and nationwide. Look for ASTC (Association of Science – Technology Centers), AZA (Associations of Zoos and Aquariums) or ACM (Association of Children’s Museums).

Great deals can be found around every corner if you’re willing to do a little research. See you at the museum!

 

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