Want Free Museum Entry With Your Library Card? Too Bad. Most of the New ‘Culture Pass’ Tickets Are Already Sold Out

This past Monday, New York City’s three library systems announced the Culture Pass initiative, which gives library card holders free tickets to 33 local cultural institutions. Then, just four days later, the tickets are already sold out for 10 of the most popular participating museums.

Library patrons wishing to attend the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, the Frick Collection, the International Center of Photography, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, the Morgan Library and Museum, Wave Hill, the New York Transit Museum, and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum will now have to wait until November to use Culture Pass, or cough up regular admission fees.

The initiative, which allows library card holders to reserve free tickets online for up to four guests, has the potential to save New Yorkers a lot of money. To visit the Intrepid costs a whopping $33. General admission to the Whitney, Guggenheim, and MoMA is $25.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Photo by G. Scott Segler, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Photo by G. Scott Segler, via Wikimedia Commons.

Tickets are still available for the Brooklyn Museum, which is pay as you wish anyway, for weekdays in October, as well as the Jewish Museum beginning September 1 and the Drawing Center from August 1.

New tickets will be released on the first of each month, with reservations available three months ahead of time. Therefore, library card holders can reserve their November tickets for sold-out institutions at the beginning of next month. (Anyone who lives, works, or attends school in New York State is eligible for city library cards.)

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Photo: Jean-Christophe Benoist via Wikimedia Commons

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Photo by Jean-Christophe Benoist via Wikimedia Commons.

“There’s always a backlog” to take out a best-selling new book,” Brooklyn Public Library president and CEO Linda E. Johnson told the Wall Street Journal, calling for patience from New Yorkers who are unable to reserve tickets to their museum of choice.

In the meantime, organizers are looking to increase the number of available tickets or to add additional institutions to the program, according to the WSJ. Notable omissions currently include the New Museum, the Museum of the Moving Image, the New York Botanical Garden, and the Bronx Zoo.

The Culture Pass initiative is a joint venture between the New York Public Library, Queens Library, and Brooklyn Public Library—libraries in the Bronx and Staten Island are part of the NYPL—with support from New York’s Cultural Affairs Department, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Charles H. Revson Foundation, and the New York Community Trust’s Thriving Communities program.

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