How to get free admission in April to more than 80 New England museums

More than 30 Massachusetts museums will participate in Smithsonian magazine's annual event.

You can enjoy a free visit to Back Bay's Gibson House Museum. The home, built in 1860, displays domestic life from the mid-19th to early 20th centuries. John Bohn/Globe Staff

Smithsonian magazine canceled this event on Thursday due to the coronavirus pandemic, writing “Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day 2020 will not take place on April 4. As a public health precaution, the Smithsonian is postponing or canceling all public events, programming and gatherings through May 3. We appreciate your understanding.”

Are you looking to explore a museum on the cheap? Then you should know that more than 80 New England museums and cultural institutions will waive admission fees for one day in April.

Smithsonian magazine’s 16th annual Museum Day, which takes place April 4, means free entry for visitors at more than 1,200 museums nationwide. This year’s theme, “Earth Optimism,” honors the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. It’s also a special year for the magazine.

“This is a big year for us at Smithsonian Magazine – it’s our milestone 50th anniversary,” said Amy Wilkins, chief revenue officer at Smithsonian Media, in a press release. “Museum Day is a national celebration of curiosity.”


Currently, 34 Massachusetts museums have signed on, including three in Boston. To take advantage of the free visit, visitors must download a ticket for free admission for the ticket holder and one guest. The museums that require a printed ticket for entry will specify so on the ticket, while others will allow guests to show their ticket via a smartphone or tablet. Only one ticket is permitted per e-mail address.

The participating museums and cultural institutions in New England are below. Don’t see your favorite listed? It’s a good idea to check with the event website, as it is continually updated with new participants.


Armenian Museum of America in Watertown
Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College in Amherst
Cahoon Museum of American Art in Cotuit
Cape Cod Maritime Museum in Hyannis
Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in Waltham
Davis Museum at Wellesley College in Wellesley
Discovery Museum in Acton
Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds in Newton
Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston
Falmouth Museums on the Green in Falmouth
Fitchburg Art Museum in Fitchburg
Gibson House Museum in Boston
Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge
Jackson Homestead and Museum in Newton
John Cabot House in Beverly
John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum Foundation in Hyannis
Marconi-RCA Wireless Museum in North Chatham
Museum of Printing in Haverhill
Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton
Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum in Nantucket
Nichols House Museum in Boston
Old Colony History Museum in Taunton
Peabody Essex Museum in Salem
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology in Cambridge
Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum in New Bedford
Sandwich Glass Museum in Sandwich
Shirley-Eustis House in Roxbury
Spellman Museum of Stamps & Postal History in Weston
Springfield Museums in Springfield
Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum in Adams
The Gardner Museum in Gardner
USS Constitution Museum in Charlestown
Worcester Historical Museum in Worcester
YV Art Museum in Acton
Yiddish Book Center in Amherst

New Hampshire

American Independence Museum’s Folsom Tavern in Exeter
Lawrence Lee Scout Museum in Manchester
McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord
Millyard Museum in Manchester
New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord
New Hampshire Telephone Museum in Warner
Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm in Tamworth
Seacoast Science Center in Rye
University of New Hampshire Museum of Art in Durham


RISD Museum in Providence.

Rhode Island

Babcock-Smith House Museum in Westerly
Gen. Nathanael Greene Homestead in Coventry
Jamestown Windmill in Jamestown
John Brown House Museum – Rhode Island Historical Society in Providence
Lippitt House Museum in Providence
Museum of Natural History and Planetarium in Providence
Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown
Old Slater Mill National Historic Landmark in Pawtucket
Paine House Museum in Coventry
RISD Museum in Providence
Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence
Tomaquag Museum in Exeter
Westerly Armory in Westerly


Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor
Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick
Brick Store Museum in Kennebunk
L.C. Bates Museum in Hinckley
Maine Historical Society in Portland
Owls Head Transportation Museum in Owls Head
Portland Museum of Art in Portland
Rufus Porter Museum in Bridgton
The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum in Brunswick


American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester
American Precision Museum in Windsor
Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium in St. Johnsbury
Vermont History Museum in Montpelier


American Clock & Watch Museum in Bristol
Art Museum, University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford
Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford
Custom House Maritime Museum in New London
Danbury Museum in Danbury
Danbury Railway Museum in Danbury
Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic
Fairfield University Art Museum in Fairfield
Florcen Griswold Museum in Old Lyme
Henry Whitfield State Museum in Guilford
Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington
KidsPlay Children’s Museum in Torrington
Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk
New England Civil War Museum in Vernon
Slater Memorial Museum in Norwich
The Aldridge Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield
The New England Carousel Museum in Bristol
Yale Center for British Art in New Haven


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