National Museum Day – Free Entrance to Over 750 Museums

Unknown museum photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash.
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On National Museum Day, you can get free entrance to over 750 museums across the country. A partnership between the Smithsonian and Quaker has made it possible for everyone to visit a museum and learn for free on this day. To get your museum tickets, simply visit the Smithsonian Magazine website and register for tickets at a museum near you.

What is National Museum Day?

National Museum Day provides a free general admission ticket for the ticketholder and one guest to museums across the country. Every state and Washington, D.C. has at least one museum that is participating.

Whether you’re sitting at home, or traveling to another state, there should be a musuem near you to explore.

This year’s Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day will take place on Saturday, September 18, 2021. Participating museum types include:

  • Air and Space
  • Art
  • Children
  • General
  • History
  • Natural History
  • Science
  • Zoos & Gardens

You can filter search results based on types and location on the Smithsonian Magazine website.

How do I get free admission?

To get free admission to one of the participating museums for National Museum Day, go to the Smithsonian Magazine website and search for museums near you. You must register  to receive your ticket. You cannot just show up

Your ticket will be good for general admission for you and one guest. It does not include special exhibits, parking, IMAX films, or any other offers. Once you enter your name and email address, you’ll be able to download your ticket for the museum you’ve selected.

Smithsonian Magazine National Museum Day - Customs House Museum in Clarksville TN
Enter your email and name to get your tickets.

Some museums require a printed ticket vs. showing it on your mobile device. Your ticket will let you know if the museum requires it to be printed.

If you’re visiting with more people, you’ll need to sign up for additional tickets. Many museums offer free admission for children. If so, they will not count towards your “one free guest.” There is a limit of one free ticket per email address.

Below is a sample of what the ticket looks like. Your actual ticket will have the specific museum location and details & restrictions of your ticket.

Smithsonian Magazine National Museum Day - ticket sample
Sample ticket. The actual ticket will include all details.

Free admission to 12 Tennessee museums

In Tennessee, there are 12 museums that are participating in National Museum Day. These museums are:

  • Blues Hall of Fame Museum (Memphis, TN)
  • Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge (Oak Ridge, TN)
  • Customs House Museum & Cultural Center (Clarksville, TN)
  • East Tennessee Historical Society and Museum (Knoxville, TN)
  • Historic Ramsey House (Knoxville, TN)
  • Historic Westwood (Knoxville, TN)
  • Knoxville Museum of Art (Knoxville, TN)
  • Mabry-Hazen House (Knoxville, TN)
  • Marble Springs State Historic Site (Knoxville, TN)
  • Museum of Appalachia (Clinton, TN)
  • Tina Turner Museum / West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center (Brownsville, TN)
  • Trousdale Place (Gallatin, TN)

As you can see from the map below, most of this year’s participating museums are located near Knoxville. However, there are a couple near Nashville and Memphis, too.

The Bald Thoughts

I’m always looking for free and frugal things to do in Tennessee. I love it even more when those activities provide an opportunity to learn and support small businesses withing our community. Explore your local museums of National Museum Day by signing up now to get your free tickets.


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