Budget Forum

The World's Best FREE Museums


Posted by barbara on May 07, 2009

While the world is in recession, I thought I'd ask if anyone has stumbled across a favourite FREE museum in their travels that just knocked their socks off? There are quite a few... especially in major cities, but my favourite would have to be... The British Museum in London.


Reply by oldscratch on May 07, 2009

When I was in college, I worked at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, and it was free every Thursday. (Though some visitors would comment that when they used to come as children that it was free every day.) I just checked and unfortunately it looks like those free Thursdays are also now a relic of the past, but they do still offer some free days each year, including several at the beginning of June. The complete list is available at the bottom of this page:



Reply by phileasfogg on May 08, 2009

I agree with the British Museum, Barbara. I also like the V&A, which was free the last time I visited.


Reply by midtownmjd on May 08, 2009

I would have to go with the Smithsonian museums in Washington, with the National Museum of American History probably being my favorite. I'm always amazed at the free museums in D.C. I do love the British Museum as well, though!


Reply by Idler on May 09, 2009

The V&A is still free, Madhulika, and one of my faves as well. Living near D.C., the land of wonderful (mostly) free museums, I'm spoiled rotten and always feel a bit put out when required to pay elsewhere. Two of my favorites in D.C. are the newly renovated National Portrait Gallery and the newish Udvar Hazy Air & Space Museum out near Dulles. I also like the Freer Gallery (Asian art) and the mostly underground Sackler Gallery, which also features Asian art. The Library of Congress is a favorite spot as well. The interior architecture is stunning, plus they have a nice small concert hall with a terrific free concert series.


Reply by Ishan on May 12, 2009

I'm a huge fan of the MoMA here in NYC. While it's not free for admission normally, every Friday night is free during afternoon/evening hours. The proposition of free tickets does cause a long queue to form, but luckily the line moves fast. If all else fails, MoMA is worth the regular ticket price!


Reply by koshkha on July 06, 2009

In the UK we are spoilt - we have some of the world's greatest museums mostly for free. For example all the South Kensington museums - V&A, Natural History Museum, Science Museum - plus the astonishing British Museum (full of all the stuff we stole from the rest of the world) and some fabulous art galleries (Tate Britain, Tate Modern, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery).
All completely FREEEEEEEE

But many other countries have special days of the week/month/year when their museums are free. Barcelona is the first Sunday of the month I believe, Madrid has something similar and even the Dutch (who don't like to give anything away for free) have a special weekend when the museums don't charge. I think some of the cities in E.Europe even have free museum nights when they museums stay open right through the night.

It would be great to try to collect this sort of info together for easy reference.


Reply by zabelle on July 08, 2009

I think the Getty in LA should get some raves for being free. I am of course a big lover of all the Free museums in London and in DC. The Tennessee State Museum in Nashville is another of my favs. If only all museums were free, it would be a much nicer world.

Reply by mkeylianos on August 30, 2013

me too I agree with the British Museum, Barbara. I also llove the V&A, ...

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