Museums On Us Bank of America: Free Museum Admission 2011-2012

Museums on Us logoIn times like these free entertainment is always a major plus, right? If you’re looking for something to do and don’t want to blow your hard-earned dough on a movie or meal, check out the Bank of America Museums on Us program – it gives you free access at over 150 museums!

Who qualifies? All you need is a debit or credit card from Bank of America or Merrill Lynch. You will also need to show your photo ID (like a drivers license or passport) that matches that name on your credit or debit card. One free ticket for admission per cardholder, per visit.

When can you go? The first full weekend of every month.

Which museums participate? This program has been around or several years and it seems to keep growing every year. As I write this, the Bank of America free museum admission was available at 152 institutions. Obviously it helps to be in a major metropolitan area since that’s where you will find most museums, but it appears BofA tried hard to find places all over the place so as many cardmembers as possible could take advantage of this. I counted the number of states on their map and 29 had participating locations.

Example #1: Los Angeles (where I live):

Although I’ve known about this perk since ’04 or ’05, surprisingly I have never taken advantage of it all these years. However this summer I’m going to change that and definitely make use of this benefit. I was checking out the BofA Museums on Us Los Angeles listing and there are quite a few good ones participating:

participating museums in Los Angeles, CaliforniaAutry, Hammer museum, LACMA, and Skirball Cultural Center are all top-notch museums that probably would normally run you around $10 to $15 per ticket.

Example #2: New York:

Not surprisingly, there’s a huge selection available for the New York City area…

participating museums in New YorkExample #3: Detroit:

I wish I would have thought of this last summer when I visited and a friend and I were thinking about hitting up a museum. Unfortunately it was too late in the day to make it worthwhile (only would have had an hour or two before closing) but I hear the Motown Museum is amazing and has some great Michael Jackson memorabilia.

participating museums in Detroit, Michigan

Why does Bank of America do this?
They do donate a decent chunk of money every year to non-profits, so my guess is that they worked out some sort of mutually beneficial deal so their cardholders could get free museum admission at the places they donate to. Their press releases regarding the Museums on Us program don’t exactly say that outright, but that’s what I have extrapolated from them. You can check out a full list of participating museums in 2011 here.

Here’s a nifty trick to get non-BofA cardholders in for free

What do you do if not everyone in your group has a Bank of America account? Well obviously you could apply for a checking account or open up a credit card, but to skip that hassle here’s an easy alternative:

If you plan a couple weeks in advance, the BofA accountholder can order secondary cards in the name of whomever they wish. That way the BofA account holder can get in free, as well as their friend/partner even if they don’t have an account. For the accountholder’s protection though, I would recommend they hold onto the secondary debit or credit card when it’s not being used to gain admission.

Written May 2011

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Just got around to reading your note. Thanks. Joel

I’m confused. Will Bank of America continue its Museums on Us program in 2012? They have printed a calendar only for 2011.

As far as I know they are, but I am not surprised to see they haven’t updated their website with the schedule yet. As you see, the way their schedule is printed on the website they will have to remove the 2011 and replace it with an image for 2012 (not the best design). I assume by mid-December they will update it.