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Tips to Visit an Art Museum for Less

Recently the Whitney Museum of American Art announced that they would be raising admission prices 20% for general admission and 33% for students and seniors. Making it one of the most costly museum tickets ($30 general admission!), now matching the Metropolitan Museum of Art (pay-what-you-wish for New York State residents). Even though it will be the first increase since 2016, many patrons have complained about the higher cost. The Museum states it is necessary due to inflation, rising costs and recovery from poor attendance during COVID.

Admissions to museums around the world have been fluctuating. Some have had to increase the pricing, while others are experimenting with lower admissions or even free admissions. While we know that budgets can be tight, if you still want to enjoy the cultural experience of going to a museum, here are five tips on where to look for more affordable ticket options.

  • Free days: Many museums offer free days during the week, excluding the more crowded weekends. They are often limited to locals with some form of ID, but some extend them to out of town visitors as well. Checkout the Picasso Museum in Barcelona on Thursday nights!
  • Military, senior, or student discounts: Most libraries offer discounted tickets with a valid ID showing that a person is over the age of being a senior, a student in school or an active member of the military or veteran. There is also the blue Star Museums Program, which gives military personnel and their families free admission to over a thousand museums across the country between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
  • Tickets through the library: Most libraries allow you to reserve free museum tickets using your library card. They have a limited number available, so don’t wait until last minute.
  • Reciprocal Savings: There are banks, credit unions and other organizations you can join that offer discounts on local museums and attractions. Make sure to check with these places to see what kinds of deals and specials might be available to members.
  • Become a Patron: Annual Membership-Often paying a larger, one-time payment for an annual membership can save you a lot of money if it is used numerous times over that period. You should also keep an eye out over the holidays, when many museums offer their annual membership at an even better discounted rate.

When can I get in to New York City Museums for Free?

Museum admission policies can change, and it’s essential to verify the information directly from the museum’s websites or other reliable sources for the most up-to-date details. That being said, here’s a list of some major museums in New York City as of September 2021, along with the general information about their free admission days:

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)
    Free Admission Day: Every Saturday.
  • American Museum of Natural History (AMNH)
    Free Admission Day: Every Saturday.
  • Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
    Free Admission Day: Fridays from 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM.
  • Museum of the City of New York
    Free Admission Day: Every Saturday.
  • Whitney Museum of American Art
    Free Admission Day: Every Friday from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM.
  • Guggenheim Museum
    Free Admission Day: Every Saturday from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
  • Brooklyn Museum
    Free Admission Day: Every first Saturday of the month from 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM.

These are just a few of the ideas for where to look for a good deal on a day at the museum. Until you are able to get out and enjoy the art in person, feel free to browse our Bestsellers Gallery where you will find some of the most famous works of art in beautiful reproductions at affordable prices. We want everyone, in every budget, to enjoy art.

About the Author

Amanda graduated from the University of Kansas, where she studied English literature and got a masters degree in library sciences. She enjoys reading, cooking and playing with her nephews. Her best friend is her little dog Brady.