This is the 10th annual Museum Day Live! event where the Smithsonian Magazine teams up with museums throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico to offer free admission for one day. The free day for the more than 1,100 participating museums is Saturday, Sept. 27. Visitors get their free tickets from the Smithsonian Magazine website.
There is something available for everyone, regardless of one’s preference in art or history. Four examples of the wide variety offered on Museum Day Live! range from the Grammy awards, (Grammy Museum in Los Angeles), the Old West (Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana), an East Coast lighthouse (Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum in New York), and a battleship with 12 decks (USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, AL). Many of the more traditional art and historic house museums are also participating in this event.
Several museums are geared for children either by being a children’s museum or having exhibits that appeal to children. One of those participating in the free day is the Jell-O Gallery Museum in Le Roy, NY. The museum is devoted entirely to the history of Jell-O. Another one is the Herschel Carrousel Factory Museum in North Tonawanda, NY. This is all about carousels or merry-go-rounds with multi-colored horses going round and round. These have been part of fairs and carnivals in the U.S. for over 100 years. The museum in Tonawanda has a children’s carousel that only children are allowed to ride. Other rooms include the old paper music rolls and a wood carving shop.
The tickets for Museum Day Live! are good for two people at the same address. If there are more than two with that address, then the other guests will have to pay admission. Also, the free ticket may only be used at one museum. Even though all the Smithsonian Institution museums are free every day, most museums charge admission which can range from a few dollars to $20.00 per person. The free museum day encourages people to visit without the cost.
In order to determine which museums are participating in this event, the Smithsonian Magazine website has a page with a map of the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Under the map, visitors can either search by state, zip code or museum name or keyword. If the search is by state, all the participating museums in that state will come up on in list. By clicking on the name of any of them, the address, phone number and website link appear on the screen. Visitors should click on the website option to be taken to the museum’s site for specific information such as directions, hours open, and available exhibits.
Since the Smithsonian has been offering the annual Museum Day Live!, the interest has grown. In 2011, the event drew 350,000 visitors. By 2013, approximately 400,000 visitors participated. The more people visit museums, the more opportunities exist for programs and exhibits. That leads to more jobs and volunteer positions. The links are provided below for looking up participating museums and for Museum Day Live! tickets, which are available immediately after registering.
By Cynthia Collins
Smithsonian Magazine – Museum Day Tickets
Photo is the Castle – the Smithsonian’s first building in Washington, D.C.