Making the Most of Museum Day Live in NYC by Jill Thompson

It’s no secret that New York City is home to some of the best museums in the world. But did you know that one day a year a slew of museums open their doors to patrons free of charge? Museum Day Live, hosted by Smithsonian magazine, takes place Sept. 26 and will be happening all throughout the country providing everyone with the opportunity to take in some culture at no cost.

While the event unfortunately doesn’t include big names like the Guggenheim or the Museum of Modern Art, it’s nice to go off the beaten path and take in some of the less recognizable but no less important names in New York. A guide from says that the downloadable free ticket for two provides entry into 93 different museums across New York state at no expense and are available online starting Aug. 1. Here are a few spots we recommend visiting for Museum Day Live.

New York Society of Illustrators

The Society of Illustrators began over 100 hundred years ago in 1901 and continues today as the premier bastion of American illustration. According to, the current home of the museum at 128 East 63rd St. was built in 1875 and taken over by the society in 1939. The permanent collection houses over 2,500 works by artists including Norman Rockwell and James Montgomery Flagg. For those unfamiliar, Flagg created the now-iconic recruitment poster featuring “Uncle Sam” and the famous “I Want You” slogan. The museum is typically $10/person so it’s definitely worth your while to see the Society of Illustrators for free in September.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan

Experience fun for the whole family, or just the kid in you, at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. The new EatSleepPlay exhibit has more than 70 interactive stations for kids and adults alike to learn all about health and the human body including a fun crawl through an oversized intestine. As noted on, the museum began in 1973 out of a New York basement storefront and today the center serves more than 350,000 visitors a year at its new home on West 83rd St. While not any worse than a movie these days at $12 for both children and adults, it can be a bit pricey to bring the whole family—that’s why the free admission on Museum Day Live makes this stop a no-brainer.

Museum of American Finance

For the armchair economists out there, it may be worth your time to visit the Museum of American Finance. Appropriately housed on Wall Street, the MOAF is the only independent museum specifically dedicated to American finance and financial history in the USA. You know what they say about those who fail to learn from history, so get a leg up and find out more about the exciting economy of one of the world’s most powerful nations. The “America in Circulation” exhibit has close to 250 different currency notes spanning from the colonies to today and even has rare denominations like $5,000 and $10,000 bills. The Museum of American Finance usually costs $8 for adults but as part of Museum Day Live, you’ll be able to surround yourself with money at no cost to you.