Way back in the early days of this blog (summer of 2010) I wrote a post about “How to get into museums for free without evading security.” While most of the tips and tricks are still valid, I wanted to update the list for 2014.
By the end of this month I’ll have a directory of museums with information about discounted tickets up in my Guides To Boston.
Local libraries all over the area provide museum passes that offer free or discounted admission to many locations. These passes are available to anyone with a valid library card. You can usually reserve the passes online or in your local branch. Check your library’s website for details.
Some of the passes available at the Boston Public Library include:
- Museum of Fine Arts – discounted pass, $10 per person up to 2 people (a savings of $15 per person)
- Boston Children’s Museum – discounted pass, half price per person up to 4 people (a savings of $7 per person)
- Museum of Science – FREE pass, up to 4 people (a savings of $23 per person)
- New England Aquarium – FREE pass, up to 4 people (a savings of $24.95 per person)
The only caveat to this is that there are a limited number of passes at any location and they tend to book fast. Especially if you’re planning on making a weekend visit, you’ll have to plan well in advance (think a month or more for the more popular museums).
Many museums in the area have recurring free admission events. This includes the Institute of Contemporary Art (free on Thursday nights), MIT Museum (free on Sundays until June 2014), Harvard Museum of Natural History and Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (both free on Sunday mornings and Wednesday afternoons for Massachusetts residents).
The Museum of Fine Arts is “by donation” on Wednesday evenings and the Children’s Museum is just $1 per person on Friday nights.
Bank of America
If you have a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch card you can take advantage of their “Museums On Us” program during the first full weekend every month. Each cardholder gets one free general admission to a participating museum. In the area, this includes the Museum of Fine Arts and the MIT Museum, but this program is nationwide so check it out if you’re traveling.
City Pass/Go Boston
These are two options that offer a combination ticket to a number of attractions in the area. I will have a full review of these later on this month!
Museums often offer discounted or free admission to anyone with a valid student ID. Check out your school’s campus or student life website for details. Take advantage of this one, all you young whippersnappers! I definitely did not and I wish I had!
If you find yourself visiting a certain museum more than once or twice a year, purchasing a membership might be a great way to save money while supporting the institution. Memberships are often available for individuals, couples, or families and offer discounts on more than just admission.