Best Museums in NYC That You May Visit Absolutely Free

By Ketki Hanamshet on Aug 03, 2018
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New York City is rightly said to be an expensive destination. Sporting high-end places at every other corner, this city attempts its best to rip your pockets apart. But what’s a little splurging if you are in US to explore the enigmatic New York City? There is a plethora of museums in NYC, and to offer a little relief, many of these have free admission on all days or on a few selected days of the week. From the Museum of Modern Arts to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, many have free days that attract thousands of visitors. Here is a list of the best free museums in New York City, put together just for you. Plan your visits well and take advantage of their generosity.

Art Museums

1. American Folk Arts Museum

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Step into the American Folk Arts Museum and it will certainly inspire your artistic side. This museum displays artwork of those artists who have developed their talent without any formal training. It has an extensive collection of about 7,000 objects that showcase traditional folk art and the modern work of many self-educated artists. The exhibits span from the 18th century to the present day. American Folk Arts Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday. 

Free Admission: On all days

2. Bronx Museum of The Arts

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The Bronx Museum of The Arts has been exhibiting contemporary and 20th-century artwork ever since its establishment in 1971. It not only promotes American artists, but has also encouraged talent from Latin America, Africa, and Asia. It has a vast permanent collection of 800 exhibits that include paintings, sculptures, photographs, and paperwork. You can visit the Bronx Museum anytime between 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM from Wednesday to Sunday. 

Free Admission: On all days

Also read Famous museum cities in USA

3. Museum of Modern Arts

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Considered to be the most influential modern art museum in the world, this is one of the must-visit museums in NYC for all art-lovers. With a collection of 150,000 individual exhibits, Museum of Modern Art is also said to be one of the largest of its kinds. The objects on display include paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, architecture and design, prints, books, films, and electronic media. A wide range of popular artists such as Walker Evans, Georges Braque, Jackson Pollock, Arshile Gorky, and Edward Hopper have contributed to this huge collection. Museum of Modern Arts is open throughout the week and can be visited anytime between 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM. The timing is extended upto 8:00 PM on Fridays.

Free Admission:  Every Friday evening, between 4:00-8:00 PM

4. The Brooklyn Museum

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The Brooklyn Museum is the third largest by size in the New York City and is home to about 1.5 million artworks. The exhibits include a heavy collection of American art which goes back to the colonial era. Their remarkable collection of Egyptian antiquities will leave you impressed. Other collections in the museum include Near Eastern Art, African Art, European Art, Islamic World Art, and Art of the Pacific Islands. The museum remains open Wednesday-Sunday from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM. 

Free Admission: Every Thursday between 5:00-10:00 PM; First Saturday of every month (except September) between 5:00-11:00 PM

Cultural Museums

5. National Museum of American Indian

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National Museum of American Indian has a branch called George Gustav Heye Center in New York City. If you wish to get an insight into the culture of Native Americans, then this museum is your best bet. There are about 700 items here that span from ethnology to art. The multiple galleries in the museum include a photo gallery, contemporary gallery, Haudenosaunee Discovery Room, and a special exhibit gallery. Since the museum is a part of the Smithsonian Institute, you can access it free of charge on any day of the week between 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Free Admission: On all days

6. Museum of Chinese in America

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Museum of Chinese in America is dedicated to showcase the experiences of Chinese Americans since their humble beginnings to present day. You get a glimpse at the history, heritage, and culture of Chinese Americans through more than 65,000 artifacts, photos, memorabilia, oral histories, artwork, and documents, housed in this museum. The museum is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday and the operational timings are 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM. 

Free Admission: First Thursday of every month from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Science Museums

7. New York Hall of Science

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Boasting to be the only hands-on science and technology center in NYC, the New York Hall of Science is for all those live by science. The museum has about 400 exhibits regarding physics, chemistry, and biology. With permanent exhibitions such as Rocket Park, Science Playground, and Preschool Place, the New York Hall of Science is a favorite amongst children, to say the least. The museum proves to be a good place of exposure to science for everyone. It is open to the public on all days of the week.

Free Admission: Every Friday between 2:00-5:00 PM; Every Sunday between 10:00-11:00 AM.

Commemorative Museums and Monuments

8. 9/11 Memorial

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Commemorating the September 11, 2001 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum pays homage to all those who were killed during the strikes. Every other person visiting NYC must visit this place to pay their respect to the lost lives. Although the museum is well-designed, it is seen to evoke memories of the darker times. The museum’s extensive collection has more than 40,000 images, 14,000 artifacts, over 3,500 oral recordings, and around 500 hours of video. You can visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum on any day of the week.

Free Admission: Every Tuesday between 5:00 PM until closing time

9. Federal Hall National Memorial

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Who wouldn’t want to visit a place where the first American President took the oath to the office, and was home to the first Congress, Supreme Court, and Executive Branch offices? Having served various purposes, the Federal Hall now acts as a memorial and museum where you get to know about the beginnings of United States and learn about its first President. The Federal Hall offers you a rich history which is as old as the city of New York. One can walk into the Federal Hall anytime between 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM from Monday to Saturday. Step into Federal Hall and you will realize that it is amongst the best free attractions in NYC.  

Free Admission: On all days

10. African Burial Ground National Monument

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The African Burial Ground National Monument is erected to honor the memory of all the enslaved Africans in the colonial New York. It is known to be the oldest and largest excavated burial ground in North America and has the remains of about 419 Africans buried in the late 17th and 18th century. Visiting this place will give you an insight into the colonial history of New York and will let you know about the harsh lives led by the enslaved Africans in olden times. The archaeological artifacts of ancestral remains, in this museum, showcase how they proved to be helpful for scientists in research. The outdoor memorial, along with the indoor visitor center and exhibitions, is open from Tuesday to Saturday.

Free Admission: On all days

Other Museums

11. The Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology

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If you are a fashion fanatic then The Museum at The Fashion Institute of technology is the best place for you to visit. The museum was established in 1969 with the only aim of entertaining and educating visitors about fashion. Its exhibits include clothes, accessories, and textiles. Its permanent collection has some 200 historically significant items. The museum stays open for public from Tuesday to Saturday.

Free Admission: On all days

12. The Morgan Library and Museum

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The Morgan Library and Museum is a complex of buildings and home to many artifacts collected by the renowned J P Morgan. There are ancient manuscripts, printed books, drawings, and paintings that will take you back in time. Some of its best collections include drawings of popular European artists like Michelangelo, Picasso, and Rubens.  Metalwork covers of the Lindau Gospels, material from ancient Egypt, and medieval liturgical objects are few other notable exhibits in the museum. You may visit the Morgan Library and Museum from Tuesday to Sunday.

Free Admission: Every Friday between 7:00-9:00 PM

Although New York City may be a little hard on the pocket at times, it does have a generous side. By offering free museum days, NYC opens doors of lovely modern art, rich history, trendy fashion, and ancient cultures. Make the most of it by planning your visits to these beautiful museums well-in-advance and you will be able to enjoy in NYC under budget.

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