Going to the museum doesn't have to be expensive. Get your timing right and you might be able to get in for free. Here's an overview of various free museum admission programs and a few 'not free but cheaper' promotions that will at least save you a few bucks on the museum tickets.
Sunday Mornings @ Harvard Museum of Natural History
26 Oxford St., Cambridge 02138
Harvard Museum of Natural History grants free admission to Massachusetts residents (Bring ID) every Sunday morning from 9am until Noon, year-round. From September through May, residents may also gain free museum access on Wednesdays from 3-5pm. Current Harvard I.D. holders and one guest are may always receive free tickets.
Free Tickets to the MIT Museum
Building N51, 265 Mass. Ave., Cambridge 02139
The MIT Museum offers free admission for everyone on Sundays from 10am until Noon.
Currently throughout July and August, Cambridge Public Library Cardholders also get free tickets during museum hours. Be sure to bring I.D. along.
The Satellite Galleries on MIT's Main Campus are also free for all:
Compton Gallery @ 77 Massachusetts Ave., Bldg 10, Room 150
Map: MIT Building 10
Open daily: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Hart Nautical Gallery @ 55 Massachusetts Ave, Bldg 5
Map: MIT Building 5
Open daily 10:00 A.M. – 5:00 p.m.
Museum tickets are free indefinitely for MIT I.D. holders.
Regular admission prices to the MIT Museum are $7.50/Adults, $3/17 and Under, Students and Seniors, Free/Kids 4 and Under.
Free Community Days at the MFA
Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, 02115
From time to time the Museum of Fine Arts offers free admission to the public. The Community Days that have been so far posted for the rest of 2010 are:
Friday, July 30 from 10am-9:45pm See this days's events.
Saturday, November 20 from 10am-4:45pm
Museum of Fine Arts Fall Open House
Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, 02115
Monday, October 11 from 10am-4:45pm
The MFA Fall Open House offers free admission to the public. Visitors can expect live performances, poetry readings, gallery talks, tours and family friendly art making activities.
Conversation Starter @ The Gardner
Mention the Conversation Starter Special Program when purchasing a ticket for any 2010 Room Views Program event and you'll get to bring a friend along for free. Purchase at the door or by calling: (617)278-5156.
Thursday Nights @ The ICA
The Institute of Contemporary Art is free and open to the public every Thursday evening from 5pm to 9pm for the Free Target Thursday Nights special program sponsored by Target.
Free Admission to The Gardner on Your Birthday
Show your ID on your birthday and get free admission to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and/or Gardner After Hours Evening Events. If your bday happens to be on a Monday, when the museum is closed, the free ticket promotion will be honored on the Sunday before or the Tuesday after.
Harvard Art Museums, Free, With Massachusetts ID
The Harvard Art Museums are free to Mass. residents on Saturdays between 10am and Noon. The Harvard Art Museums Network includes:
Busch Reisinger Museum
Arthur M. Sackler Museum
Peabody Museum is Free, Present Your Mass ID
Your Massachusetts proof of residence ID will get you into the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University for free from 3-5pm on Wednesdays (September though May only) and from 9am-12pm on Sundays (year round).
Public Open Night at the Observatory
The BU Observatory is open on Wednesday nights for the public to learn about astronomy, with opportunities to view the night sky through telescopes and binoculars. As long as the weather is clear, the observatory will open to the public at 7:30pm in the Fall and Winter months and at 8:30pm in the Spring and Summer. The program generally lasts an hour.
The Coit Observatory is located at Boston University, 725 Commonwealth Ave., above the Astronomy Department. The stairway to the observatory is on the fifth floor next to room 520. For more information call 617-353-2630.
Always Free Admission to the Commonwealth Museum
The Museum of Massachusetts History is always free to enjoy. The museum is located at 220 Morrissey Blvd, Boston 02125. For more info, call 617-727-9268.
Always Free Admission to MIT's Hart Nautical Gallery
MIT Museum's Hart Nautical Gallery is free and open to the public daily from 10am to 5pm. It is located at 55 Massachusetts Ave, Building 5, Cambridge, MA 02139. For more info call 617.253.5942.
Always Free Admission to the Fire Museum
The Boston Fire Museum offers free admission to all but donations are requested. The museum hours are 11am to 6pm on Saturdays. The Boston Fire Museum is located at 344 Congress Street, Boston 02210. More info on Boston Fire Museum.
Isabellas Get in Free to The Gardner Museum
In honor of the museum's founder, anyone with the name Isabella will be granted free admission to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Isabellas also receive a 10% discount in the museum shop. This special free ticket promotion lasts forever. Read details.
Last Saturdays Free for Families at the ICA
On the last Saturday of every month except December, families of up to two adults with children 12 and under can enjoy free admission to the Institute of Contemporary Art.
Youth 17 and under are free every day.
Historic Boston Mansion: Boston Residents Get Free Admission
The Otis House offers free admission to Historic New England members and Boston residents. The Otis House historic mansion is located at the foot of Beacon Hill on Lynde Street next to the Old West Church. Learn more about Otis House Museum.
2 Days, 2 Museums, $2 Off
Save two dollars off of the price of a regular adult or senior admission ticket at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum when you show your ticket stub from the Museum of Fine Arts, and vice versa. The promotion is only valid if you visit the museums within two days of one another.
Museum Discount for Red Sox Fans
Anyone wearing Boston Red Sox gear can receive $2 off their admission ticket to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, in celebration of the Founder's famous fascination with the team.
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