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Free Museums In New York City

by Elena on February 18, 2010

MoMA Museums in New York CityNew York City is a mecca of culture, art, music, and society, where you can brush elbows with artists and creatives in one of the many museums, theaters, or galleries that the city has to offer.  Unfortunately for many however, New York City is also a mecca for those paying high rent, a high cost of living, and just getting over an economic depression.  It isn’t always so easy to experience culture without the cash, which is why smart New Yorkers and travelers alike take advantage of FREE NYC.  As a student living in NYC, I used to get into quite a bit of museums for free merely by showing my student ID, but you don’t have to be a student to enjoy the benefits of free culture.  In fact most museums in NYC have a night when one can visit and pay absolutely nothing to enter.  There are also quite a few lesser known museums that are free to enter at any time.  Take a look at the compiled list below to find out when you should visit each museum.

MoMA | Museum of Modern Art

Admission to the MoMA is free for all visitors on Target Free Friday Nights.  Every Friday evening from 4pm to 8pm.  The museum also offers what they call MoMA Nights.  Every first Thursday of every month, the MoMA stays open until 8:45pm.  Although you do have to pay admission, you can enjoy free gallery talks and music.  There is also a cash bar and a pre fixe dinner on this night.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Although the Metropolitan Museum of Art lists entrance fees, if you pay closer attention you will see that these fees are suggested.  If you want you can enter without paying anything, although I have gotten a few dirty looks from the employees until I show them my old student ID with an extended expiration date.  Don’t be guilted into paying if you don’t have the cash, but if you do you can donate if you wish.

Guggenheim New York

The Guggenheim offers a pay-what-you-wish program on Saturday evenings from 5:45-7:45 pm.  The program means exactly what it says, pay what you wish, which means free!  Check out the Guggenheim’s calendar of events.  Sometimes they offer programs and events that are free for students.

American Museum of Natural History

At the American Museum of Natural History there is a suggested donation of $15, but we all know what suggested means.  If you want to see the show at the planetarium you will need to pay the full price of admission.  The museum also hosts the party One Step Beyond once a month (every second Friday) inside the Rose Center for Earth and Space with the Planetarium looming overhead.  The entrance fee is $20 in advance but you can use the ticket as free admission to the Planetarium space show.

New Museum of Contemporary Art

The New Museum offers Target Free Admission for youth everyday of the week, so if you are 18 years or younger, you get to enter for free.  General admission is $12 and student admission is $8.

American Folk Art Museum

Every Friday after 5:30 until 7:30 pm admission to the American Folk Art Museum is free for visitors.  Not only is the museum free, but there is live music, as well as your choice of food and drink provided at the cafe (which you have to pay for).

Whitney Museum of American Art

The Whitney has a pay-what-you-wish admission on Friday nights from 6-9 pm.

Museum of the City of New York

The Museum of the City of New York has a suggested donation of $10.  If you live in the neighborhood all you have to do is say “I’m a neighbor” at the entrance, and they will let you in for free.

MoMA Museums in New York City

Here is a list of museums that are free every day:

Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
The Hispanic Society of America
National Museum of the American Indian
Carnegie Hall/Rose Museum
Dahesh Museum
The Drawing Center
Artists Space
Goethe House German Cultural Center
The Municipal Art Society

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