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NYC libraries’ new Culture Pass makes New York museums accessible to all

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Dozens of museums are accessible if you have a library card

The Museum of Modern Art is one of the cultural institutions participating in the city’s new Culture Pass program.
Iwan Baan

New York is home to some of the world’s most impressive and vital museums, but the barrier for entry to those cultural institutions can be high—a ticket to the Museum of Modern Art, for example, costs $25, a fee that may be out of range for many New Yorkers.

But a new initiative, spearheaded by the city’s public libraries, will soon change that: Say hello to Culture Pass, a one-stop ticket to some of the city’s cultural hot spots. The New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and Queens Library partnered with more than a dozen of those institutions—including MoMA, the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden—to provide free passes to library card holders. Passes are available for groups of two or four to participating institutions.

There is a catch, of course: You can only reserve one pass per cultural institution per year, and you must be a cardholder at one of the three library systems in order to access Culture Pass. (And you can only have two reservations going at once!) But signing up for a library card is easy—you only need a valid address and photo ID, including an IDNYC card—and will also give you access to one of the city’s greatest civic institutions.

Another catch: Passes are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, with new ones becoming available two months prior to when they can be used. If you want to make a reservation at MoMA, for instance, you’ll need to hop on it once passes become available, lest you miss out.

But even with those caveats, this is still an excellent way to bring the city’s myriad cultural offerings to the masses; and hopefully, people will get more face time at their local libraries—among the city’s greatest civic institutions—to boot.