One out of every three museums in the United States could disappear because of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to research released last summer by the American Alliance of Museums.
That would be a tragic outcome, not just for culture lovers but for the U.S. economy in general. Museums employ hundreds of thousands of workers and contribute billions to the economy.
(Source: American Alliance of Museums)
So kudos to Bank of America for its continued support of museums across the country at this crucial time.
For the 24th year, the finance giant's Museums on Us program grants free entry on the first weekend of each month at more than 225 cultural institutions for all Bank of America debit and credit card owners as well as Merrill cardholders. (Frommer's has no affiliation with Bank of America or the Museums on Us program.)
Among the eligible museums: art powerhouses such as the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Houston, the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, the Boise Art Museum in Idaho, and the Art Institute of Chicago (pictured at the top of this post). The program also covers entrance to dozens of facilities devoted to history and science as well as children's museums and botanical gardens.
To find a participating institution, simply enter your zip code or consult the museum map at Bank of America's website.
I can report from personal experience that now is an unusually fulfilling time to spend an afternoon at a museum.
Not only do you have the satisfaction of knowing that you've helped an important community organization, but the museum experience itself is wonderfully serene and uncrowded these days. Because of capacity limits, you can linger in front of exhibits without getting bumped by strangers or worrying about blocking their view.
Want to really show your support? Contact your elected state and federal representatives and urge them to provide more funding for these vital cultural institutions. Any investment made in museums now will pay off for years to come.