Take 10 Tuesday: Free US Museums

I don’t know what resolutions you might have made for the year but I do know that I’m always looking to save money. I’m also always looking for a way to get out and do things. Today we’re featuring free museums across the US. Whether you’re planning a staycation or a low-budget trip, these museums are a great start in saving some cash. Tip: When traveling to any museum, research any free days, availability of coupons (Entertainment books are great for this), and see if they offer discounts for children or students.

10. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Wade Park, Cleveland, Ohio
“For the benefit of all people, forever.” By keeping this museum free, it ensures all people can visit it. The museum is known for its large collections of Asian and Egyptian art. The museum is currently undergoing a large renovation and most galleries remain open through the 2012 unveiling of the completed museum. A great time to visit would be in winter, so you can visit the Winter Lights Lantern Festival.

9. Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, Illinois

This museum is maintained by Columbia College Chicago and is the Midwest’s leading photography museum. It is also home to the Midwest Photographers Project, a project for Midwestern photographers. It features photographs from the 20th and 21st centuries.

8. The Getty Center, Brentwood, Los Angeles, California

Image Credit: Al_HikesAZ

One of this museum’s most famous pieces is Irises by Vincent Van Gogh. The Getty Center features Western art but “This isn’t your typical run of the mill museum where you walk in, look at art pieces and walk out. Your senses and experience are heightened with fountains, gardens and panoramic views of the city” as Yelp user Melodie states so eloquently. It does cost to park at the museum but entrance is free.

7. The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland

This museum was founded with just one work of art back in 1914 and now holds more than 90,000 works. One can’t miss section is the Cone Collection, a collection that two sisters started with some amazing works of art in its ranks.

6. The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

So far we’ve mostly featured art museums. Now I bring you 13 free museums at once. I doubt you’d expect nothing less of the largest museum complex in the world:

  • African Art Museum
  • Air and Space Museum (one of my favorites)
  • American History Museum
  • American Indian Museum
  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
  • Freer Gallery
  • Natural History Museum (another of my favorites)
  • Smithsonian Castle
  • American Art Museum Portrait Gallery
  • Postal Museum
  • Renwick Gallery
  • Ripley Center International Gallery
  • Sackler Gallery

5. The Frye Art Museum, First Hill, Seattle, Washington

The Frye collection originated with Charles and Emma Frye and originally focused on “the dark, the dramatic, and the psychological.” New works have been added to the collection to shine on their own and to also match and contrast the original collection. The resulting collection is enriching and engaging.

4. National Museum of Mexican Art, Pilsen, Chicago, Illinois

The artwork here focuses on creations by the Mexican, Latino, and Chicano communities. This is the only Latino museum accredited by the American Association of Museums. One feature here is the focus on Mexico’s artwork throughout its history, from pre-Spanish invasion through present day. The best time to visit is for Día de los Muertos, generally held in the fall-specifically October.

3. The Alamo Mission, San Antonio, Texas
Alamo Night (HDR)
This museum is where the Battle of the Alamo took place in 1836. Among the building you can visit are the chapel, the Long Barracks, and the Alamo itself. There is a diorama to see as well as a mural. Davy Crockett is one of those who fell at the Alamo. I visited this site in 1999 and found it engaging.

2. Fashion Institute of Technology, Manhattan, New York City, New York

While FIT has pushed out powerful alumni like Reem Acra, Michael Kors, and Calvin Klein, it is also home to a museum featuring clothing, textiles and accessories. One of the museum’s highlights is its constantly changing exhibitions. Upcoming exhibitions include His & Hers, a focus on “the relationship between gender and fashion over the past 250 years”, and Japan Fashion Now, featuring gothic lolita fashions and cosplay. The site also features an online collection at its eMuseum that you can view here.

1. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland

The collection here features vast treasures, including ancient Egyptian pieces, Greek sculptures, Roman sarcophagi, medieval ivories, rare books and manuscripts, Renaissance bronzes, 19th-century paintings, Chinese ceramics and bronzes, and art deco jewelry.

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I'm Julie, I love to travel, I'm very hyper and I like to "hype" things and from that, TravelHyper was born. I'm a Missouri native and I cover St. Louis travel ideas as well as my own travels. I also like to focus on places I want to visit and budget travel ideas by creating trip plans. There's so much world out there and I hope you'll find that it's worth seeing and that vacation doesn't have to be out of reach to you.

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