Free admission this weekend at more than 100 museums

On the first weekend of every month more than 100 museums, zoos and attractions around the country offer free admission to anyone with a Bank of America card as part of the Museums on Us program.

Visiting one of the participating venues is a great way to stretch a weekend entertainment budget and a good excuse to get acquainted with the work of a new artist or get reacquainted with a favorite animal at your local zoo.

One place on the list this month is the Wichita Art Museum in Kansas, which is hosting a traveling exhibition from the National Air and Space Museum through the end of September.

In Plane View: Abstractions of Flight features 56 large-format photographs by Carolyn Russo showcasing the elegance and beauty of airplane design.  For example, this photo shows grooves in the exhaust cone of the North American X-15.

In Plane View Exhibit at Wichita Art Museum

Can’t make it to Kansas? When the exhibit leaves the Wichita Art Museum, it will travel to the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Virginia and then, in January 2011, to the Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences in Peoria, Illinois.

You might also take advantage of the Museums on Us program to get free admission to the Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan (Saturday only), where the 15 planes in the Heroes of the Sky exhibit includes this 1926 Fokker Trimotor used by Richard Byrd in his attempt to be the first to reach the North Pole by plane.

Ford Fokker at Henry Ford Museum

According to the museum notes:

Because Edsel Ford funded Byrd’s trip to the Arctic, the plane was named for his daughter, Josephine. Tony Fokker, the manufacturer, wanted to be sure no one mistook the plane for a Ford, so he painted the giant “FOKKER” on the wings and fuselage. There’s no heater in this plane, so temperatures inside the cabin could have easily reached -50° F while flying through the Arctic sky.

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