Want to Get Into New York’s Best Museums for Free? Now All You Need Is a Library Card

The Culture Pass initiative gives any resident with a library card free entry into the city's world-class cultural institutions.

The Guggenheim Museum in New York. (Photo credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

New York’s world-class museums just got a little more accessible to New Yorkers.

Starting on Monday, New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and Queens Library cardholders will get free entry into over 30 museum and cultural institutions across the city, thanks to a new Culture Pass initiative. The city’s most preeminent institutions are participating, including the Whitney, the Guggenheim, Brooklyn Museum, MoMA, and the Met.

Speaking to the New York Times, Brooklyn Public Library president Linda Johnson said the initiative is designed to enable low-income families and underserved communities to enjoy the city’s world-class cultural offerings. “Some people are intimidated by museums,” she said. “They shouldn’t be shut out of all the wonderful cultural offerings that are available to New York City dwellers.”

To take advantage of the initiative, cardholders can reserve day passes by entering their library card number online. Some museums, like the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, allow cardholders to take family members with them as well. The only caveat? Cardholders get just one free visit to each participating institution a year.

As part of the program, the New York Public Library is also working with several participating institutions to develop educational programs, such as workshops, readings, artist talks, and other events. The programs will take place both at library branches and in the museums themselves.

“The thinking was, here we are in the capital of the world with all of these cultural jewels that New Yorkers either don’t visit or don’t think they can afford to visit,” New York Public Library president and CEO Tony Marx told the New York Post.

Museum entry fees normally cost $25 for adults at the Whitney Museum, MoMA, and the Guggenheim, while the Met charges a pay-as-you-wish policy for New York residents but is otherwise $25. General admission is $16 at the Brooklyn Museum. In contrast, library cards are free for residents of New York City and New York State and are available at all New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Library branches. 

See the full list of participating Culture Pass institutions below and here.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Brooklyn Historical Society
Brooklyn Museum
Children’s Museum of the Arts
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
The Drawing Center
The Frick Collection
Historic Richmond Town
International Center of Photography
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art
The Jewish Museum
Louis Armstrong House
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Morgan Library & Museum
Museum of the City of New York
Museum of Chinese in America
Museum of Jewish Heritage
Museum of Modern Art
New York Transit Museum
Noguchi Museum
Queens Historical Society
Queens Museum
Rubin Museum of Art
SculptureCenter
Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
Society of Illustrators
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling
Wave Hill
Whitney Museum of American Art


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