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Free Museum Days

Home > New York > Free | Museums
Published April 15th 2010
Like a lot of cash-strapped people, you rationalize you'd go to museums more if they didn't cost, well, anything. Good news: sometimes they don't cost a dime, or close to it.

Here's a look at some of New York City's main museums that offer free admission on special days, or operate on a pay-what--you-wish scale (the key word here oftentimes here is "suggested").

American Folk Art Museum
45 W. 53rd St., between Fifth and Sixth avenues
Next door to the MoMA, specializing in American folk art and international self-taught artists
Admission, generally: $9/$7 students
Best deal: Free on Fridays from 5:30-7:30 pm
Perks: Live music in the atrium, featuring up-and-coming local bands

American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
Popular with school field trips, thanks to its stuffed animals, fossils, and planetarium
Admission, generally: $16/$9 students (suggested)
Best deal: The admission itself; since it's "suggested," you can give as much or little as you want
Perks: Nothing out of the usual

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway, at Washington Avenue
Second-largest art museum in New York City, with pieces ranging from ancient to modern art
Admission, generally: $10/$6 students (suggested)
Best deal: While you can pay as much or as little as you want on any visit, being the admission is "suggested," on the first Saturday of the month, admission is guiltlessly free
Perks: The free First Saturdays programming includes live music, special talks and a dance party

Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave., at 82nd Street
One of the world's largest art museums, with over two million works, from art to armor
Admission, generally: $20/$15 students (recommended)
Best deal: The admission itself; since it's "recommended," you can give as much or little as you want (emphasis being on the former)
Perks: Also in general, the fee includes same-day admission to the Cloisters Museum & Gardens, which focuses on medieval art

Museum of Modern Art
11 W. 53rd St., between Fifth and Sixth avenues
Often cited as the most influential modern art museum in the world, with most of the pieces you'd see in a contemporary art textbook hanging on its walls
Admission, generally: $20/$12 students
Best deal: Free on Fridays from 4-8 pm
Perks: Nothing out of the usual

Rubin Museum of Art
150 W. 17th St., between Sixth and Seventh avenues
Dedicated to the art of the Himalayas and surrounding regions
Admission, general: $10/$7 students
Best deal: Free on Fridays from 7-10 pm
Perks: Happy hour from 6-7 pm; live musical performances at 7 pm

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Ave. at 89th Street
Home to impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and early Modernist contemporary art
Admission, generally: $18/$15 students
Best deal: Pay-what-you-wish on Saturdays from 5:45-7:45 pm
Perks: Nothing out of the usual

Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Ave., at 75th Street
For fans of 20th- and 21st-century American art
Admission, generally: $18/$12 students and those ages 19-25
Best deal: Pay-what-you-wish on Fridays from 6-9 pm
Perks: Live music in the cafe
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Why? Open your mind, without opening your wallet
When: Varies
Where: Varies
Cost: Free, or close to it
Comments
I love the free museum days, the only problem is that a lot of other people do too. When you go at the right times though you can actually enjoy yourself without huge crowds. If there's a specific exhibit I know is incredibly popular, I go on pay days anyway because the crowds are even worse.
By L.R. - senior writer
Friday, 20th of May @ 11:03 pm
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