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Boston Museums for Free

I love museums and I like it even more if I can visit for free. I've compiled a list of ways to get in to a bunch of museums around Boston for free so that you can also indulge without needing to pay admission. The first two on this list are available nationwide and you can look for museums near you at those websites. The rest are mostly around Boston and are behind an LJ-cut.

If you know of other ways and places to get in free, let me know and I'll add it to the list!

Bank of America Museums On Us (nationwide)
http://museums.bankofamerica.com/
Discussion: http://forums.slickdeals.net/showthread.php?sduid=0&t=1389299
Got a Bank of America ATM, credit, or check card? Each card holder can get into a bunch of museums free on the first full weekend of each month. Check website to find participating museums (or zoos and gardens) near you. In the Boston area, this deal gets you into:

Target sponsored nights (nationwide)
http://sites.target.com/site/en/corporate/page.jsp?contentId=PRD03-002065
Here's another deal where a big corporation sponsors a bunch of free or cheap admissions. Check website to find one near you. We went to the MoMA in NYC for their Target Free Thursday night and the line was so long we were tempted to give up. But we joined the line and it moved surprisingly quickly. Boston options are:
- Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Thursdays 5-9pm
- Boston Children's Museum Target $1 Fridays 5-9pm
Discussion: http://forums.slickdeals.net/showthread.php?sduid=0&t=1328567


Free "Fun Fridays" for the Entire Summer (Massachusetts)
http://www.highlandstreet.org/free_fun_fridays
Highland Street Foundation is sponsoring free admission on Fridays to different attractions in Massachusetts (mostly Boston area).

  • July 3 Museum of Science, Boston, MA
  • July 10 JFK Presidential Library & Museum, Columbia Point, Boston, MA
  • July 17 Boston Harbor Island Alliance (free ferry rides to Harbor Islands)
  • July 24 Franklin Park Zoo, Dorcester, MA
  • July 31 Boston Children's Museum, Boston, MA
  • Aug 7 Plimouth Plantation, Plymouth, MA
  • Aug 14 Stone Zoo, Stoneham, MA
  • Aug 21 Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA
  • Aug 28 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
  • Sept 4 Springfield Museums, Springfield, MA


Boston Children's Museum, Boston, MA
bostonchildrensmuseum.org

  • Target $1 Friday Nights 5-9pm (see sponsored by Target
  • Free admission for United States Armed Forces Active Duty Personnel and their dependents (must show ID)
  • Free on Friday, July 31 (sponsored by Highland Street Foundation)


Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham, MA
www.danforthmuseum.org

  • Free admission for children under 17
  • Free the first full weekend of each month for holders of a Bank of America card (see Bank of America Museums On Us)
  • See museum's website for other available discounts.


Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College (Thanks thesoxgap!)
www.davismuseum.wellesley.edu
Free admission all the time. (Looks like summer hours mean it's open Tue-Fri 12-4pm)

DeCordova Sculpture Park & Museum, Lincoln, MA
www.decordova.org
Admission is charged while the museum is open. But after the museum closes, you can drive on in and enjoy the sculpture park for free. We saw many people drive in, pitch a blanket, and eat a picnic dinner or read for a while. I'd go all the time if I lived closer. If you head out this way, check out the Gropius House for $10. (Sorry, I couldn't figure out a way to make this one free)

Franklin Park Zoo, Dorcester, MA
zoonewengland.org

  • Free on Friday, July 24 (sponsored by Highland Street Foundation)
  • Admission is FREE all day on the Friday after Thanksgiving!
  • All military personnel who present a current, official Military ID at the Admissions booth will be admitted into the Zoo free of charge. This offer will be valid through October 1, 2009.
  • Free for children under 2
  • Half-price admission on the first Saturday of each month, 10am-12pm


Harvard Museum of Natural History, Cambridge, MA (Glass Flowers!)
www.hmnh.harvard.edu

  • Free the first full weekend of each month for holders of a Bank of America card (see Bank of America Museums On Us)
  • Free to Massachusetts residents every Sunday morning (year-round) from 9:00 am to noon and on Wednesdays from 3:00 to 5:00 pm (September through May) excluding commercial groups
  • Free with Harvard ID


Harvard Art Museum, Cambridge, MA (the Sackler Museum)
www.harvardartmuseum.org

  • Cambridge Public Library card holders: Free
  • Saturday 10am to noon; every day after 4:30pm: Free
  • Under 18 years of age: Free
  • Free with Harvard ID


(Harvard's) Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology
www.peabody.harvard.edu

  • Massachusetts residents: Free on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (September through May) and Sunday mornings (year-round) from 9 a.m. to 12 noon (excluding commercial groups)
  • Under 3 years of age: Free
  • Free with Harvard ID


The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
icaboston.org

  • Free admission for youth 17 and under (sponsored by State Street Foundation)
  • Target Free Thursday Nights 5-9pm (see sponsored by Target
  • Free for Boston University students (Thanks tempobay!)


Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
www.gardnermuseum.org
I love just sitting in the indoor garden courtyard (shown here

  • Free if your name is Isabella
  • Free on your birthday. If your birthday falls on a Monday (when museum is closed) then go the Sunday before or Tuesday after your birthday.
  • Free from 5pm-8pm on these Thursdays: July 9, July 23, and August 6 for Neighborhood Nights (includes special activities)
  • Bring your MFA ticket stub to the Gardner for $2 off (within 2 day of MFA visit)
  • See their website for more discounts and free offers http://www.gardnermuseum.org/specials.asp


John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
www.jfklibrary.org

  • Free on Friday, July 10 (sponsored by Highland Street Foundation)
  • Free for children 12 and under
  • Check for passes from Public Library



MIT Museum
http://web.mit.edu/museum

  • Free on Sundays 10am to Noon
  • Free for kids under 5
  • Free with MIT ID
  • Free in July and August for Cambridge Public Library cardholders
  • Free admission to Compton Gallery and Hart Nautical Gallery


Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
www.mfa.org

  • Wednesday Nights Free from 4pm to 9:45pm
  • Free on Friday, Aug 28 (sponsored by Highland Street Foundation)
  • Free admission for kids 6 and under
  • Free admission for youths 7-17 on weekdays after 3 pm, weekends, and Public School holidays
  • Free Community Days once a month (http://www.mfa.org/calendar/sub.asp?key=12&subkey=8280)
    Sunday, July 19, 2009
    Friday, August 28, 2009
    Sunday, September 20, 2009
    Monday, October 12, 2009
    Wednesday, November 11, 2009 (plus free admission to "The Secrets of Tomb 10A: Egypt 2000 BC.")
    Thursday, December 31, 2009
    Monday, January 18, 2010 (MLK Day sponsored by Citizens Bank)
  • Free for Northeastern students/alumni (Thanks pizzaface78!)
  • Free for Boston University students (Thanks tempobay!)
  • Might still be free with Harvard ID?


Museum of Science, Boston, MA
www.mos.org
I couldn't find anything for this one but dale62676 commented.
- Get a pass from the public libraries for $5 admission.
- Free for MIT students, teachers, and active duty military


New England Aquarium, Boston, MA
www.neaq.org
I couldn't find anything for this one. Get a pass from the public libraries.

Stone Zoo, Stoneham, MA
zoonewengland.org

  • Free on Friday, Aug 14 (sponsored by Highland Street Foundation)
  • Admission is FREE all day on the Friday after Thanksgiving!
  • All military personnel who present a current, official Military ID at the Admissions booth will be admitted into the Zoo free of charge. This offer will be valid through October 1, 2009.
  • Free for children under 2


USS Constitution, Charlestown, MA
Museum: ussconstitutionmuseum.org
Ship: www.history.navy.mil/ussconstitution/
Come see Old Ironsides, the nation's oldest commissioned ship. Tours of the ship are free and admission to the museum is by voluntary donation.

Museum Passes from Public Libraries
Boston Public Library: http://www.bpl.org/general/circulation/museum_passes.htm
Cambridge Public Library: http://www.eventkeeper.com/code/events.cfm?curOrg=CAMBRIDGE&curApp=passes
Somerville Public Library: http://www.somervillepubliclibrary.org/museumpasses.html

National Parks Fee-Free Days (Thanks thesoxgap!)
While many of our national parks never charge entrance fees, many others do. However, they will all waive entrance fees on three weekends this summer (one already passed).
- June 20-21, 2009 (Father’s Day weekend)
- July 18-19, 2009
- August 15-16, 2009
http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm



Thread in b0st0n: http://community.livejournal.com/b0st0n/6677288.html


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Wow, thanks for this info!!! We can use this when we are in Boston in a coiuple of weeks!

Excellent. How long will you guys get to visit?

We will be coming in for a week... we can't leave our cats alone too long (even though we have a cat sitter coming in!)... but we will be up at Harvard for an afternoon, so maybe we will take in one of those museums!

Very nice research, J.
Now I feel like I want to be in Boston.
:)


Boston's a great place to be :)

It may be a little late and it's not really free, but Smithsonian members will get free admission to a nationwide list of museums and living history sites on Sept. 26th.

For more info, see the Museum Day website.

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