National Museum Day

By Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY September 11, 2019

More than 1,600 museums nationwide will be opening their doors for free on Sept. 21 in honor of Museum Day.

It's an annual event organized by Smithsonian Magazine to celebrate cultural institutions and museum-goers across the country from Los Angeles to New York and from Hawaii to Alaska. It encourages museums, galleries and historic sites to allow free entry just as the Smithsonian Institution’s Washington, D.C.-based facilities do year-round.

Even some animal centers like the Charles Paddock Zoo (usually $10 for adults) in California and the Swaner Preserve and Ecocenter in Utah (also $10) have chosen to take part.

To get a free entry to the 15th annual event, visit Once you find a museum you want to visit, click the “Get a Ticket” button, enter your name and email, and download the branded ticket.

You get two entries per ticket, but only one ticket is allowed per email.

If you go to a participating institution on Museum Day with more than one guest, other guests will have to pay full admission if they don't have tickets. Get there early, because if a museum reaches capacity, it can limit guests until space becomes available, Smithsonian warns on its website. 

The theme of this year’s Museum Day is “Year of Music,” and it aims to spotlight the music-related resources and content across different disciplines including art, history, culture, science and education. 

Where should I start?

The Rosa Parks Museum in Alabama, the California Automobile Museum and the Jewish Museum in New York City are interesting choices. There's also the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., and the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles.

You can also download free passes to world-class art museums such as the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston or the Frist Art Museum in Nashville. There are options in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. 

Typically, the cost of admission to these museums is $4 to $30 per person.