Museums on Us

Freebies + cool offers to take advantage of now

Like the free ice water that made South Dakota’s Wall Drug famous, free stuff is a great treat when you’re on the road or out and about in your own town.

Here are few free offers and cool deals to take advantage of this weekend and into next week:

Free Museum Admission

On the first full weekend of each month, anyone who has flashes a Bank of America, Merrill Lynch or U.S. Trust credit or debit card and a photo ID gets free admission to more than 200 museums, science centers, gardens and other attractions participating in the Museums on Us program around the country.

Free food 

PotBelly Sandwich Shop is offering a bunch of free food items to members of its free-to-join Potbelly Perks program August 6-12.

Air fare deal

Need to bring a few suitcases of cash to the Cayman Islands? Or just want a great deal on a flight to this vacation destination?

From August 3 to 11, Cayman Airways is celebrating its 50th anniversary with some great discounted fares, plus extra perks such as 3 checked bags and lounge access, for flight from Miami, Tampa and New York booked for travel September 7 through November 7.

Fun hotel package for Pearl Jam fans

Not free – but fun: In Seattle,  The Edgewater over-the-water hotel has put together a package with the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP). The Rock the Suite package includes tickets to the museum’s Pearl Jam: Home and Away exhibition, overnight accommodations at the hotel’s Pearl Jam Suite, and signature Pearl Jam cocktails in the  Six Seven Restaurant & Lounge.

Pearl Jam fans should also note that there’s a free Pearl Jam exhibit put together by the Museum of Pop Culture in the-presecurity area of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Know of a great freebie for travelers? Please send it along.

Free museums this weekend

When I’m not in an airport, I’m checking out museums – especially on the first weekend of each month when the Museums on Us program gives Bank of America cardholders free access to more than 150 museums and cultural institutions around the country.

Adler_Ivory_Telescope

Ivory telescope from the Alder Plantarium

If I could zip around the country, I’d use my bank card to gain free access this weekend to the Alder Planetarium in Chicago (general admission: $12), to see the telescope collection and the temporary exhibition that explores the post-Pluto question: What is a Planet?.

Alder image

I’d also head to American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore to see the Big Hope Show – which is closing soon – and to Morristown, New Jersey to see the Toothpick World exhibition and the fortune -tellers, gambling machines and other early coin-operated entertainment machines at the Morris Museum.

1_Intro_assorted machines_courtesy Morris Museum

Pull-tab cars & portraits made of bugs

Courtesy Fairbanks Museum_Bug Art Mosaic

 

Smithsonian magazine’s 11th Museum Day Live! event is coming back around on Saturday, September 26 and this year there are more than 1300 museums around the country that will be offering free admission on that day.

In my first piece for Mashable Travel, I’ve got a round-up of some of the fun and – of course – offbeat museums and special exhibits to go see that day, including portraits made of thousands of bugs at the eclectic Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury, Vermont and the Grassroots Arts Center in Lucas, Kansas, which has outsider art galore.

Courtesy Grassroots Arts Center, Lucas, Kanas_Car and motorcycle made of pop-can pulltabs by Herman Divers

Read the full story here.

And if you’re out and about over the Labor Day Holiday, keep in mind that it is the first weekend of the month and that means Bank of America and Merrill Lynch credit or debit card holders can get free admission to more than 150 museums around the country, courtesy of the long-running Museums on Us program.

Bruce Lee & 150+ museums free this weekend

If you’re home or on the road this weekend, and have a Bank or America or Merill Lynch credit or debit card, you’re eligible for free admission at more than 150 museums, science centers and gardens around the country, courtesy of the Museums on Us program, which makes the same offer the first full weekend of each month.

Kiss V, 1964, Roy Lichtenstein, courtesy Seattle Art Museum. Collection Simonyi, © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein, Photo: Eduardo Calderon.

If you’re in Seattle, that means you can get free admission to the Seattle Art Museum (regular admission: $19.50), which is currently showing a great pop art exhibition.

Another great option: The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, which is the only place outside of Hong Kong to have an exhibition about martial arts and film star Bruce Lee, who had deep connections to Seattle and is buried at Lake View Cemetery

Bruce Lee - Wing Luke Bruce Lee on the set of ‘Way of the Dragon’ – courtesy of The Wing and Bruce Lee Enterprises.

City break: free dinos and glittering gems in Dallas

If you’ve flying somewhere this weekend and have a free afternoon, check your wallet. There may be free dinosaurs or art treasures in there.

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If you’re a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card holder, you’re eligible for a free admission at more than 150 museums around the country – a perk that returns on the first weekend each month as part of the long running Museums on Us program.

If you’re near Dallas, for example, you’ll get free entry at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science , where general admission is $15.

As I learned during an all-too-short visit this week, the museum has five floors filled with 11 interactive permanent exhibits offering everything from dazzling gems and minerals to a bird hall, a dinosaur-filled then and now exhibit and the opportunity to learn about and explore sport, science and space.

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