Best deal on art museum memberships?
May 12, 2011 7:31 AM   Subscribe

I visit art museums and travel around the US. I'm looking for a museum membership that gives me the best deal on reciprocal admission to other museums.

Here's what I know so far: There appear to be several different reciprocal networks. Many museums are part of more than one. The one closest to where I live, unfortunately, is only part of the Western Reciprocal membership program, which is fairly small .
In all of the networks, membership levels that offer reciprocal privileges start at $100 and go up from there.

I travel most frequently in the northern half of the US, and have been known to detour to small towns specifically to look at art. Hope this helps.
posted by pernoctalian to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
My parents belong to ICOMOS and are able to use it all over Europe - what I don't know is if it also covers locations in the US.
posted by Leezie at 7:36 AM on May 12, 2011

the North American Reciprocal Museum Membership program is used by many smaller museums in smaller cities. Some of the larger big-city museums, like MoMA and MMA in NYC and the MFA in Boston do not accept this, but it works well in Toronto and San Francisco. A membership costs us ~150 per year in the U.S. and I think it's been entirely worth it.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:04 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

To be a little more clear: the NA reciprocal membership works more often than not, and if you visit art museums more than 15 times in a year it starts to save you money on admissions.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:15 AM on May 12, 2011

While not a reciprocal membership program, Bank of America's Museums on Us program might be of interest.
posted by taramosalata at 8:29 AM on May 12, 2011

Best answer: Your absolute best bet is to purchase an individual membership to the American Association of Museums. Yes, it's an organization for museum professionals, but if you love museums that much you will enjoy being a member because you're helping to support them -- and the individual membership card will entitle you to completely free admission to all AAM member museums (which is almost all good museums in the US). Also, the card will often get you the members' discount at the museum shops or cafe.
posted by Miko at 8:36 AM on May 12, 2011 [8 favorites]

Seconding Miko about AAM -- I've been a member for years, and regularly save a hundred bucks on just one day in New York alone (MoMA's what, 25 bucks these days?).

Also, you often get a second person in with your membership, just ask. Not every museum does it, but most do (ICA and MFA in Boston, MoMA, the New Museum, the Whitney, the Gugg, etc). For MoCA in LA, it even gets you the free member parking. And you can skip the big lines at MoMA and go straight to members services. Only museum I've ever been to that isn't a member, for whatever reason, is MassMoCA.

It's the best deal on earth if you go to as many museums as I do.
posted by mmmcmmm at 4:04 PM on May 12, 2011

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