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Smithsonian American Art Museum
Photograph: Courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum

Smithsonian Museum Day is back next month with free admission for all

The Smithsonian spearheads this popular annual event

Erika Mailman
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Erika Mailman
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Mark you calendars: Hundreds of museums will be offering free admission to all next month. 

Museum Day is back for the 18th year on September 17, 2022. Hosted and funded by the Smithsonian, which is free year-round, the event offers a chance to see a new museum you've been reluctant to pay admission at. 

On Museum Day, you can enter the participating museum or cultural institution of your choice by signing up in advance at Smithsonian’s website to get your ticket. If you’re unsure what’s even near you, you can enter your zip code into the site to explore options around your home—or there’s a scrollable, alphabetical list by museum name, but that might take a while.

Here are a few of our curated selections for Museum Day 2022:

  • Don’t miss the Chumash Indian Museum in Thousand Oaks, CA, with a look at Chumash Native American culture, an ethnobotany garden, a replica of a historical Chumash village and game field, and a walking trail through an oak forest.

  • Explore intricate equine artwork at the New England Carousel Museum in Bristol, CT. There’s a sample carving bay with hands-on activities for children and an indoor Venetian carousel. Interestingly, there’s also a Museum of Fire History with historical equipment and memorabilia: you can pull alarms here without the principal getting mad at you!

  • We love the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum in Wichita, KS, lodged in the beautiful old 1890 City Hall with impressive clock tower. View four floors of exhibits with 70,000 artifacts, including a 1916 Jones Six car built in the city, a decorated Victorian home interior and many other surprises.

Hint: it’s worth perusing the list of participating museums, because some of them are free every day, such as the Derfner Judaica Museum + The Art Collection at Hebrew Home at Riverdale in Bronx, NY, or the Miniatures and Curious Collections Museum in Roswell, New Mexico. The free admission is out there.

Finally, read this to yourself in a super speeded-up voice: The free ticket allows the ticket holder and one guest free entry—larger groups will need to purchase admission for extra members. One free ticket allowed per email address. Download your free ticket, paired to a particular museum, starting at midnight on Aug. 15. Pick your museum carefully; once you select it, there are no ‘takebacks,’ warns the Smithsonian.

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