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For over 20 years Bank of America has offered special privileges for getting into museums across the country. The program is known as the “Museums on Us Program” and it allows you to get into museums all around the US for free.
In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about the program, including which cards are eligible and which weekends are free. I also have a full list at the end of the article with every participating museum.
What is the Bank of America Museums on Us Program?
The Bank of America Museums on Us Program is a special program that allows Bank of America customers to visit museums all around the US free of charge on a select weekend each month. Keep reading below to see exactly which customers have access and what weekends are free.
What Bank of America cards are eligible for the Museums on Us Program?
You can get free entry into select museums with the credit cards or debit cards from the following institutions:
- Bank of America
- Merrill Lynch
- U.S. Trust
Note: (Business cards or personal cards should work).
You will also need to show a photo ID when you use your card to get in for free. Also, you can only get free entry for the cardholder — guests must pay separate entrance fees. If you add an authorized user they should be able to get in for free.
I’ve also seen parents add their kids to their checking accounts so they have their own debit cards but have read mixed reports with the success of doing that so be warned that it might not always work (even though it appears that it should).
Bank of America has some pretty solid credit cards you might want to pick up like the co-branded Alaska Airlines credit card, Virgin Atlantic card, and Asiana card. (Since some of these cards are less common and don’t have the Bank of America logo on them in obvious fashion, you might have to take a little bit of extra time to show the museum that these cards are eligible.)
Here are a couple of their other cards you might be interested in:
Bank of America Premium Rewards
- Earn unlimited points – 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points per $1 on all other purchases Calculate Rewards
- 50,000 bonus points – a $500 value – after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
- Get up to $200 in combined Airline Incidental and TSA Pre-Check /Global Entry Statement Credits
The Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card comes with no annual fee so with a card like this you’re able to hold on to the museum benefit for free. Of course, since debit cards also work you might just stick with your debit card if you already have an account with Bank of America.
Bank of America Cash Rewards
- Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings
- Plus, earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases Calculate rewards
- Earn 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1%
Before applying for these cards, just make sure you are aware of the credit card application rules.
What 2020 weekends are free?
With the program, you can enjoy free admission on the first full weekend of every month. So the first Saturday and Sunday of a given month are eligible when both the Saturday and the Sunday fall in that month. Here’s a list of all of the free weekends for 2020 below.
- January: 4th & 5th
- February: 1st & 2nd
- March: 7th & 8th
- April: 4th & 5th
- May: 2nd & 3rd
- June: 6th & 7th
- July: 4th & 5th
- August: 1st & 2nd
- September: 5th & 6th
- October: 3rd & 4th
- November: 7th & 8th
- December: 5th & 6th
If you don’t want to keep track of which weekends are the free dates then you can sign up for email reminders. These should arrive in your inbox every month and you can sign up for them here.
There are some reports of people getting turned away when special events are taking place. These don’t appear to be that common but it’s something that you want to be on the lookout for when the special event doesn’t have an exclusive entrance. In those cases, you can try to reason with the ticket desk and just assure them you won’t be entering in the special exhibition but YMMV.
Tip: Many museums offer free entry on certain days of the week/month/year so always be on the lookout. You can search for some free days here. Just be warned that free days at museums sometimes have ridiculously long lines so you might want to avoid them if you don’t like dealing with crowds. By the way, you might want to read my tips for visiting museums.
What type of admission do you get?
The Museums on Us Program will grant you general admission into these museums. Thus, if there is a special exhibit which requires you to pay for entry, you likely won’t get free access to that exhibit. Also, some museums have fast-track lanes and you likely won’t get access to those either (though it never hurts to ask).
The price of admission to these museums will vary but it’s not uncommon to get about $15 to $25 worth of value from a free general admission ticket. Some museums may try to up-sell you to more expensive tickets (at a discount) when you enter so be prepared for that.
What type of museums participate?
I have a full list of all of the museums in the program below, but you can expect a wide variety of museums in this program. Some museums are very well known like the Art Institute of Chicago, the Met in New York, etc.
However, you will also find a lot smaller museums that you probably have never heard of. The great thing about those museums is that even if you’re not in love with them when you visit, at least you can get into them for free. And without a doubt, some of them will be hidden gems with some interesting art and artifacts to check out.
List of Bank of America free museums
Below is a list of all of the museums that participate in the program. Keep in mind that they are constantly adding new museums so you should always check to see what the latest museums are. I will try to keep this list as updated as possible but if you want to check your self you can do that here.
San Luis Obispo
District of Columbia
- Orange County Regional History Center
- Orlando Museum of Art
- Orlando Science Center
- The Mennello Museum of American Art
West Palm Beach
- Georgia State Railroad Museum
- Old Fort Jackson
- Pin Point Heritage Museum (Saturdays only)
- SCAD Museum of Art
- Savannah Children’s Museum
- Savannah History Museum
- Adler Planetarium
- Art Institute of Chicago
- Chicago History Museum
- DuSable Museum of African American History
- Museum of Contemporary Art
- Shedd Aquarium (Sundays only)
- The National Hellenic Museum
- Maryland Science Center
- Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Cultur
- American History & Culture
- Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
- Michigan Science Center
- Motown Museum (subject to availability)
- National World War I Museum and Memorial
- Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
- Union Station’s Science Center, Science City
- El Museo del Barrio
- Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
- New-York Historical Society
- Rubin Museum of Art
- Staten Island Children’s Museum
- Staten Island Zoological Society
- The Jewish Museum
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art – The Met Breuer
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art – The Met Cloisters
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art – The Met Fifth Avenue
- The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
- Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
- Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
- Levine Museum of the New South
- Mint Museum Randolph
- Mint Museum Uptown
- African American Museum in Philadelphia
- Museum of the American Revolution
- National Museum of American Jewish History
- Philadelphia Museum of Art
- Bullock Texas State History Museum
- The Contemporary Austin (Laguna Gloria)
- The Contemporary Austin (The Jones Center)
- The Thinkery (at the Meredith Learning Lab)
- Briscoe Western Art Museum
- McNay Art Museum
- San Antonio Museum of Art
- The DoSeum: San Antonio’s Museum for Kids
- Witte Museum
- Northwest African American Museum
- Seattle Art Museum
- Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
Bank of America Art Conservation Project
Bank of America also oversees an art conservation project. They provide grants to nonprofit museums to conserve historically or culturally significant works of art that are in danger of degeneration, including works that have been designated as national treasures. Each year they take new grant submissions so if you think you might qualify you should look into it.
Getting a free general admission ticket to museums every month is a great perk. The only drawback I see is that you don’t get access to the special exhibitions and you might have to forgo other passes like FastTrack. But it doesn’t get much easier than just showing your card to get free access so I am a big fan of this program.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.