Christa Geraghty | 

8 Easy Ways You Can Get Free Museum Admission in 2024

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Museums are a great family activity to learn about art, history, and culture. However, they can also be expensive. If you love exploring museums but don’t want to spend a ton of money, there are ways to score free admission. Fortunately, we even found free museums in every state across the U.S. Plus, we did some digging and discovered several ways to get into pay museums for free or at a reduced cost.

So whether it’s a bank promotion or community programs, options are available to enjoy the museum experience without breaking the bank. Keep these tips top of mind the next time you’re traveling or enjoying a staycation as a budget-friendly activity.

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1. Get free museum admission with your bank.

Someone holding their Bank of America card in front of a laptop displaying the information page about their Museums on Us program

Some banks offer their customers free or discounted museum passes. It’s a perk for holding an account with them. Here are two that offer this benefit:

Bank of America

If you’re a Bank of America customer, get excited. BofA offers free museum admission to their customers through the Museums on Us program. On the first full weekend of every month, Bank of America, Merrill, or Bank of America Private Bank (U.S. Trust) cardholders can gain free admission to over 225 museums across the United States. Here are the dates for the Museums on Us program in 2024:

  • Jan. 6 - 7

  • Feb. 3 - 4

  • Mar. 2 -3

  • Apr. 6 - 7

  • May 4 - 5

  • June 1 - 2

  • July 6 - 7

  • Aug. 3 - 4

  • Sept. 7 - 8

  • Oct. 5 - 6

  • Nov. 2 - 3

  • Dec. 7 - 8

Capital One

Not to be outdone, Capital One offers eligible cardholders a complimentary 6-month museum admission. They do this through the Capital One Cultivist Museum program. The 6-month trial gets you and up to three guests free access to museums around the world, including:

  • New York’s Guggenheim Museum

  • Paris’ Louvre and Musee d’Orsay

  • San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art

  • The Art Institute of Chicago

First, though, you must join via this Capital One/Cultivist partnered link to get your free 6-month trial. It’s easy to cancel any time before your 180 days are up, and you won’t be charged anything. However, if you fail to cancel within that window, they will charge $40 a month until you cancel. This offer expires on June 22, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

2. Check out museum passes through the Culture Pass program at your local library.

Someone holding up a phone displaying the CulturePass NYC website landing page

Some libraries participate in programs that offer free museum admission to library cardholders.

Passes typically admit two people. Most libraries allow you to “check out” or “borrow” free museum admission passes a limited number of times a month. However, these are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Here are a few libraries that offer the Culture Pass:

Other public libraries may have their own museum pass program.

Related: Check out these summer reading programs that offer freebies for kids.

3. Use your EBT card for free museum admission through the Museums for All program.

A laptop displaying the Museums for All EBT information landing page

With the nationwide Museums for All program, those who receive SNAP food assistance can get reduced or free museum admission at over 1,000 museums in the U.S. They can do this by using their EBT card and ID. Some museums offer WIC cardholders admission for free or at reduced rates as well.

  • Admission is $3 or less per person.

  • Up to four people can get reduced or free admission per EBT card (you may find some museums allow more than four).

  • You can visit participating museums as often as you’d like; there are no limits to the number of visits you can get with your EBT card.

It’s recommended you call the museums beforehand to ensure they’re open and whether they require reservations.

Note: You can’t pay with your EBT if your tickets are not free. You must use cash, credit, or debit card, etc.

4. Military members can get free museum admission through a complimentary Blue Star Families membership.

A dad pushing his child on an interactive museum exhibit

From Armed Forces Day to Labor Day (May 18, 2024 – Sept. 2, 2024), active and retired military (including National Guard and Reserves) and their families (up to five people) can visit more than 2,000 Blue Star museums across the country for free. Visit for participating museums.

5. Military, students, and teachers can enjoy free admission through museums.

A woman wearing a military uniform, looking at a cell phone.

We love sharing discounts, but free is better. If you’re an active military member, student, or teacher, call your local museum and inquire about reduced or free admission. We found several museums that offer free admission to students and/or teachers.

Note: You will need to show your teacher, student, or military ID for the respective freebies.

6. Visit museums on free admission days.

People looking at a Georges Seurat painting in an exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago

Many museums offer free admission on specific days of the week or month. For example, the Art Institute of Chicago offers Illinois residents free admission every Monday, Thursday, and Friday in the winter. This year the dates are Jan. 8 – March 22, 2024. Here are a few other examples:

  • Adler Planetarium in Chicago offers free admission to Illinois residents every Wednesday between 4 p.m. - 10 p.m.

  • Field Museum in Chicago offers free admission to Illinois residents every Wednesday.

  • Seattle Art Museum has free admission for everyone on the first Thursday of every month.

  • Museum of Flight in Seattle doesn’t charge admission on the first Thursday of every month from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Other museums, such as the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C., are free to the public every day except Christmas.

7. Find free admission offers through museums.

Two people having a conversation while sitting on a fountain outside of The Metropolitan Museum of Art with bags that say "The Met"

Contact your local museum and ask if they have any free admission offers. Here are two we found:

  • New York City residents who are new Met members of The Metropolitan Museum of Art can get a 1-year complimentary free membership with a valid IDNYC card.

  • The MFA Citizens program at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston gives newly naturalized U.S. citizens a 1-year complimentary membership to the museum.

8. Take a group tour through a museum.

Someone leading a group tour through an exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago

Some museums offer free admission to groups, such as school groups or community organizations. For example, the Art Institute of Chicago offers free museum admission to the following groups every day:

  • Kids under 14

  • Chicago teens

  • Active-duty military

  • LINK and WIC cardholders

  • Illinois educators

  • Corporate partners

Other museums, like the Exploratorium in San Francisco, California, offer free admission to Title 1 K-12 classroom field trips. The Detroit Institute of Arts in Detroit, Michigan, offers free admission to groups of adults 55 and older. And the museum will provide free bus transportation if your group has at least 25 from Macomb, Oakland, or Wayne counties.

It’s always a good idea to check with the museum directly to confirm the availability of these programs and to find out about any restrictions or requirements.

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