Museum  September 16, 2021

Museums You Can Visit for Free on Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day

Created: Thu, 09/16/2021 - 10:28
Author: anna

September 18, 2021 marks the return of a previously annual celebration—Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day, an occasion marked by free admission to hundreds of museums, zoos, and cultural centers across the nation. An admittedly minor casualty of COVID-19, last year’s raging pandemic forced a temporary hiatus, but no longer.

Still, most museums will require visitors to sign up for time slots. This will enable the institutions to monitor crowds and maintain social distancing. Tickets can be reserved—for free, of course—on the Smithsonian magazine’s website. A comprehensive list of participating institutions is available here but Art & Object has assembled some highlights from across the nation that should appeal to our readers.

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Courtesy Wikimedia Commons. Image by Patrick Pelster. CC BY-SA 3.0
Laguna Art Museum


With a collection exclusively limited to art by Californians or about California, the Laguna Art Museum has a particularly special exhibition on view at the moment—Wayne Thiebaud: Clowns. The show highlights work made in the last seven years by the 100-year-old Thiebaud as he reflects on childhood memories from Long Beach.


Museum of Craft and Design

San Francisco's Museum of Craft and Design highlights more than one might expect. In addition to elevating craft and design, the museum frequently invites visitors to explore their preconceived notions of fashion, Outsider Art, creatives with developmental disabilities, and much more.

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Courtesy Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0
The Heckscher Museum of Art


In Huntington, NY, the Heckscher Museum of Art celebrates 100 years with a special exhibition that explores the development of its permanent collection. Arranged chronologically, the show will reveal how a group of 185 paintings and sculptures became 2,300 works across a wide range of media.

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Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Williamsburg Art & Historical Center (WAH Center)


A storied building and museum, the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center (WAH Center) of Brooklyn, NY, will participate in Museum Day. Those who book tickets will receive a docent-led tour of the Special Contemporary Art Exhibit and Historical Exhibits.

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Courtesy Wikimedia Commons. Photo by Mav. CC BY-SA 3.0
The Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University


Located in Atlanta, the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University is currently home to an especially fresh exhibition, Resonance: Recent Acquisitions in Photography. Curated to echo the experiences and emotions of 2020, the show is sure to be a provocative one.

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Courtesy Wikimedia Commons. Detail of Photo by Ebyabe. CC BY-SA 3.0
Appleton Museum of Art


Ocala, Florida’s Appleton Museum of Art will feature an exhibition of works by internationally acclaimed artist Allison Saar this Museum Day. Entitled, Alison Saar: Works from the Permanent Collection, the show will focus on the artist’s lesser-known print works.

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Courtesy Wikimedia Commons. Photo by Smash the Iron Cage. CC BY-SA 4.0
Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg


This includes entry to several museums within Virginia's Colonial Williamsburg from the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum to the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Both hold extensive, historically significant, and fascinating collections of unusual artworks.


The Printing Museum

Located in Houston, Texas, The Printing Museum might be a unique visit for those used to exploring the more typical art museums but fascinating nonetheless. A key feature of art history, printmaking—techniques and the complex history of the practice—is something a lot of art enthusiasts could stand to learn more about.

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Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. CC-BY-2.0.
Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art


Located in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art is currently home to an exhibition entitled Powerful Women II: Contemporary Art from the Eiteljorg Collection. Additionally, the museum’s current artist in residence is Katrina Mitten (Miami Tribe of Oklahoma) who has been engaged with art traditional to the Great Lakes People since she was twelve years old.