Free tickets to 15...


Free tickets to 150 museums – including the Bass Museum of Art!

February 27, 2012
tours at the bass

Need an afternoon out? Bank of America is buying, at museums and other cultural centers across the country.

Want a free ticket to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Shedd Aquarium, the Motown Museum, the Houston Zoo or the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum?

You might already have it. Check your wallet.

If you own a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card, or a card bearing the BofA logo, you can take part in Bank of America’s Museums On Us program.

Any of the above-mentioned cards is your open-sesame to 150 museums in 31 states, from as far north as Alaska to as far south as Florida. The card plus a photo ID will get you in without paying on the first Saturday of every month. Sometimes on Sunday, too.

While there’s plenty of fine art to be viewed, this party is far from elitist. (See “Country Music Hall of Fame,” above.) Choose from an intriguing mix of venues, such as:

  • Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego.
  • IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum, near Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  • Art Institute of Chicago.
  • Brooklyn Children’s Museum.
  • The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Boston.
  • National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.
  • Discovery Science Center, Santa Ana, Calif.
  • Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Mich.
  • Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City.

Click on the link above to find out what’s available in your neighborhood — or in any city you’re planning to visit. If that trip encompasses the first weekend of a month, you just saved yourself the price of admission. Don’t you just love frugal tourism?

The savings can be considerable. A ticket to the Houston Zoo is normally $13, admission to the Henry Ford Museum is $17 and a walk-through of the Whitney Museum of American Art will set you back a cool $18.

Depending on your location, the Museums On Us program may net you other perks. For example, the Seattle Art Museum’s splendid “Gauguin & Polynesia: An Elusive Paradise” exhibit, which runs until April 29, costs as much as $23 to see. But those BofA cardholders can get in for $8 on the first weekend of the month.

Sometimes a special exhibit or program may actually be free with the gratis pass, but not always. Call first, lest you take the bus all the way across town only to discover there’s a separate admission fee for the traveling exhibit of King Tut’s underpants.

Of course, you could also look at it as “I saved X dollars getting in so I’ll gladly pay to see the boy king’s tighty whities.” And I hope you’ll drop at a bill or at least some coins in the donation bins found in most museum lobbies.

So get your midwinter-weary self out of the house. Head out to the Art Institute of Chicago, the Anchorage Museum, the Harvard Museum of Natural History or whatever’s open in your area. Enjoy a little frugal culture, whether highbrow or having to do with lariats.

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