The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue is among 33 cultural institutions you can visit for free through a new initiative of the city's public library systems. Photo: Adel Gorgy.
The treasures of New York just got a lot more accessible. As of July 16, anyone with a New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library or Queens Library card is entitled to one annual free admission at 33 major museums, cultural institutions and attractions. “Culture Pass” plays off museum memberships that have been popping up in small regional libraries, but does it like only New York can.
Ancient artifacts from Egypt, cutting edge works by contemporary artists, cherry blossom festivals at botanical gardens and even the deck of an aircraft carrier are among the attractions and experiences opened up by the program. It’s a move to get more people in the doors, broaden audiences and interact with underserved segments of the local community. For families, especially, it can save hundreds of dollars or more every year.
If there’s a museum you’ve always wanted to visit, there’s never been a better time. Take the challenge, and see as many as you can. Check out an exhibition about color at the Cooper Hewitt; Tibetan and Himalayan art and ritual objects at Staten Island’s Jacques Marchais Museum; or trumpets, photographs and records at the Louis Armstrong House in Queens. Institutions in all five boroughs are partnering with the libraries.
Go to the Culture Pass website and select your library system. Enter your card number and PIN. Choose from available dates and institutions and make a reservation (book early for the most popular venues). Log back in to retrieve and print a pass shortly before your trip, and bring ID. They’ll check that your name matches the name on the pass.
Even good things can better. And this does. Library cards are not only available to residents of New York City. People who work in New York and all residents of New York state can sign up for a card.
Among the popular destinations and hidden gems participating are the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, The Drawing Center, The Frick Collection, the International Center of Photography, The Met, The Morgan Library, MoMA and MoMA PS1, the Noguchi Museum, the Rubin Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the Whitney Museum and Wave Hill. Plan carefully, book early, visit often and be enriched.