Friday Deal Tip- Priceless Art for Free (or a penny!)

Do you like art museums? Are you intimidated by the idea of taking your kids to an art museum? Don't be. Art museums are for all ages and there are many art museums that are free, have free days, or pay-what-you-wish times. Many have a wide variety of art, so you may find pieces you love and pieces you detest in the same building. That's part of the fun! Pick your favorites and least favorites.

Baltimore area residents:
     We have 2 amazing art museums in Baltimore that are free!

     The Walters Art Museum has a wonderful collection of ancient art, as well as European, Renaissance, Asian, and more. If you have kids that find ancient Egypt interesting, they will enjoy this museum. It has a variety of rooms and displays, so explore the various floors. They even have magnifying glasses for kids to use in some of the rooms to look at jewelry and smaller items.
Walters Art Museum- Special Faberge exhibit on 1st floor

     Baltimore Museum of Art is another large art museum in Baltimore that is free admission. They have a large contemporary art collection, including pieces that can be touched. This is great for kids! They have pieces by Andy Warhol, Diego Rivera, Rodin, Frida Kahlo, and one of Degas' ballerinas.
BMA- Degas ballerina and Monet paintings in the background

BMA- Georgia O'Keefe
BMA- Andy Warhol room- Sculpture you can sit on!

BMA- Art you can walk through!
     Just a couple hours from Baltimore is the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It is massive! I have been there twice and still have not seen it all. It is so varied and has so many pieces from recognizable artists. Normally admission is $20 for adults, $14 for youth ages 13-18, and children 12 & under are free. But, on the first Sunday of the month from 10am-5pm and EVERY Wednesday from 5pm-8:45pm it is Pay-What-You-Wish. This is their own words: "What does Pay What You Wish mean? We suggest you start at a penny but support us with whatever amount you wish." They have a huge collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Fauvism, and Cubism pieces. 

Philadelphia Museum of Art- The City (L├ęger)
Philadelphia Museum of Art- Van Gogh's sunflowers
     D.C. is another day trip and has several large art museums that are free admission. The National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum are in a building that is an architectural work of art itself. It is open until 7pm to give you plenty of time to see 3 huge floors of various exhibits. You will find art by artists such as Edward Hopper, Gilbert Stuart, Georgia O'Keefe, Frederick Remington, Thomas Cole, Mary Cassatt, Grandma Moses, and more. We really enjoyed the contemporary art on the 3rd floor as well as the portraits of all the Presidents. There is also the National Gallery of Art that is full of amazing pieces, including the first examples of Degas' ballerina statues I saw in person. (He is one of my favorite artists.) There are other art museums and sculpture gardens around the National Mall, including the Hirshhorn, African Art Museum, Freer Gallery, and the Sackler Gallery. Renwick Gallery is near the White House and will reopen March 30, 2018 with a new installation. All of these are free.
Portrait Gallery- 3rd floor

Portrait Gallery- Gilbert Stuart's portrait of George Washington

American Art Museum- Edward Hopper


     What you will pay for:

          1. Parking/Transportation/Tolls: You will have to pay for parking or public transportation to get to these museums. In Baltimore, street parking near either museums is the cheapest option. It's only 50 cents per hour on the street in front of the Baltimore Museum of Art, but that parking is limited. The Philadelphia Museum of Art has a parking garage that costs $12 for the first 4 hours. We like to use the DC Metro or the Marc Train to get into/around DC, as well as the DC Circulator bus to get around the National Mall. You need to have a Metro SmarTrip card for the Metro and buses. The great deal with the DC Circulator is that it has clear bus stops throughout the National Mall and when you use your Metro card, it costs $1 for 2 hours and you can get on and off as many times as you want in a 2 hour period for no additional charge.

          2.  Food: You may have to buy food while you are out or you can save money by packing food. When we head to DC for a day, we will often pack our lunch and eat in one of the cafeterias in a museum and then we go to Union Station to eat supper in their food court. There is also
a McDonald's around the corner from the Portrait Gallery.

There are museums in other parts of the country that are free or have free days. When we lived in Houston, we loved to visit the Houston Museum of Art on their free Thursdays.

Do you have a favorite art museum? Feel free to share about free art museums in your area!

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