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April 12, 2013


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I am not a member of a museum, nor do I frequent museums, but I'm surprised that the original article ignored what I would expect would be one of the most common reasons for museum membership - support of the museum. I give money to various charitable organizations not for what I get back from them, but because I believe in their value and want them to continue operations.

We were a member of the National Aquarium in Baltimore one year because my parents were visiting and we were also interested in their 4th of July picnic/fireworks viewing privately on the pier. (The National Harbor can get...rough on the 4th of July. There was, in fact, a riot a short distance away.)

The membership paid back for itself during that one event, and it paid even more when we went back in the middle of the year as a family and then took the in-laws later in the year. We ended up several hundred dollars ahead.

I didn't realize such memberships could be tax deductible. I wonder why the museums don't advertise that more clearly, its a pretty big difference for some people.

My wife use to get the friends and family pass to the Detroit zoo when the kids were little. With that she would invite friends who also had kids to join her and she could get everyone in under the pass.Also you did not feel obligated to stay all day becasue you paid a ton of money. She would go around 12 time during the summer and it more than paid for itself.

Now that the kids are grown we have stopped this.

We currently are not members to any museums but I would consider a membership to a few if we lived back home. Currently we don't visit any often enough to make it cost efficient. Maybe when my 2 year old is older and actually interested in something more than picking up rocks and swinging at the playground.

Yes, I am a member of the local art museum. I think it's a mistake to think about it strictly in terms of cost-effectiveness. Rather, the question is whether you want to support the museum. My local museum has been a source of learning and solace for me since I've lived in this town--I want it to be available to others, including kids, students, and those who aren't well off. (The museum only has a suggested, not a mandatory, admission fee, a policy I consider particularly worth supporting.)

I used to work at a museum. We sold a lot of memberships to out of town visitors who would not be coming back because our museum participated in a program with other national museums of a similar type and our members were (and the other national museums) got reciprical free admission. So check and see if your local museum (think art and science ones more than likely) participate in a program such as that.

I forgot to add ours was the ASTC reciprocal program. But there are many more.

Yes, museum and zoo membership is one of my tenets of frugal city living. Family membership to the Museum of Natural History and the Bronx Zoo (reciprocity with 4 other zoos and aquariums I the 5 boroughs) pays for itself in about 2 visits, depending upon how many people are in your family. Given that we visited the AMNH about 10 times last year, it's worth it indeed.

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