On Saturday, Smithsonian magazine’s annual Museum Day Live! event will give thousands of people free access to more than 40 museums across the state of Massachusetts.
Since the event launched in 2005, the amount of participating museums nationwide has grown from just above 200 to more than 1,200, said Amy Wilkins, chief revenue officer at Smithsonian Media.
“It’s an opportunity for us to recognize the extraordinary power of museums and other cultural institutions in terms of what they provide regarding insight and inspiration,” Wilkins said. “It really represents this commitment to boundless curiosity and this pursuit of knowledge, wherever you are.”
This year, six Boston museums will take part in the free event: the Museum of Fine Arts, Gibson House Museum, the Museum of African American History, the Nichols House Museum, The Mary Baker Eddy Library, and the William Hickling Prescott House.
Around the state, dozens more museums will fling open their doors for free, including the Harvard Art Museums, Springfield Museums (all except The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum), the Worcester Art Museum, Garden in the Woods in Framingham, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Martha’s Vineyard Museum in Edgartown, and the Salem Witch Museum.
You can find the full list of participating Massachusetts museums here.
For the first time this year, museums received planning help for younger visitors using Minecraft: Education Edition thanks to a Smithsonian partnership with Microsoft, Wilkins said.
“They worked with us to create lesson plans that would stimulate STEM,” she said, referring to the acronym for “science, technology, engineering, and math.”
Visitors may find interactive activities and exhibits that explore the universe, Wilkins said. Families can also access the lessons online both before and after Saturday to enhance their museum-going experience.
To participate in Museum Day Live!, visitors must download and print out a ticket, which is good for one person plus a guest.
Last year, Wilkins said there were 200,000 ticket downloads.
“We’re on track to double that number right now,” she said.
Guests can only download one ticket per email address. Some museums will allow guests to show their ticket on a smartphone or tablet on Saturday, but not all will. Check the Museum Day Live! website to find out which museums will allow it.