Free museum admission

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.


(Free) Tidbits for travelers: doughnuts, museums, zoos & more

If you’re traveling anywhere this weekend, or just exploring your own town, here are some freebies that may come in handy.

(Photo courtesy Flickr member istolethetv)

Friday, June 4th is National Doughnut Day! The Salvation Army created this sweet holiday back in 1938 as a fundraising event, but the day is now celebrated with free doughnuts.  Krispy Kreme stores throughout the country are giving out free doughnuts (one per customer) and you’ll get a free donut if you buy a coffee drink at most Dunkin Donut stores.  Many local, independent donut shops will also be honoring the day with free donuts, so if you’re in a new town, map out a donut tour and explore.

This weekend is the first full weekend of the month and that means you can get free admission at more than 100 museums around the country if you have a Bank of America debit, credit or ATM-card.

Check the Museums on Us list to see if there’s a museum, zoo, or other local attraction near you participating in the program..  One of my favorites on the list is the Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which currently has a great exhibition titled Headgear, which is all about the natural history of horns and antlers.

(Photo by Andrew Shaper, courtesy Harvard Museum of Natural History)

Also this weekend more than 100 national parks that usually charge entrance fees will also open their gates for free.

And from now through Labor Day, more than 750 museums (the list just keeps on growing) around the country are offering free admission to active duty military families through the National Endowment for the Art’s Blue Star Museums program.