Saturday, May 9, 2015

Local libraries offering free and discounted admission to museums

I've been aware of the museum pass program at the library for well over a decade, but I just recently found out that they've redone their system so that it's much easier to use. The first system I remember involved calling or visiting each library branch and asking what passes they had available on what dates, and they would look in a physical signout book. I did use this a few times, but it was tedious and I would end up reserving whatever pass they had for several months out. The next improvement was basically an online version of this, in which
one went onto the website, chose a branch, a date, and a museum, and did this repeatedly until an available date came up.

I was extremely pleased to see the new system, which has a searchable interface that lets you put in the date, branch, and museum, or leave it as open as you want. I did one search to see what passes were available for the next few days and found that there are many openings; if you aren't picky about which museum you visit, you could go tomorrow. I specifically wanted to go to the aquarium (holy expletive, it's $26.95 for 12 and up, $17.95 for kids, and there is no low-income discount available), and there are many passes available starting in a few weeks.

If you're interested in different museums from the ones BPL offers, Momlifehacker has a nice roundup of different museum passes that are available at different libraries in the area. FYI, the BPL, Minuteman, and Old Colony library networks have a policy that any Massachusetts resident can apply for a card in their system. Minuteman and BPL let you use the same physical card for convenience, but they each have to register it separately. I've found that several of the staff members at the town branches seem to think library cards are only for residents of that town, and will try to have you pay for a day pass or courtesy card or some crap to check out materials. It's not actually required unless you don't live in Massachusetts; just check the policy on the system's web site and show it to the library staff if you have to.

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