(Image courtesy of Culture Pass NYC)

Thousands of free passes to New York City museums, gardens, and cultural sites have been secured by eager New Yorkers after this week’s launch of Culture Pass NYC, an initiative that allows New York Public Library, Queens Library, and Brooklyn Library cardholders to book free passes at 33 of the city’s museums. The highly-reported initiative was immediately popular; the site was overwhelmed due to high traffic in its first hours. Once the technological issues were resolved, bookings from eager New Yorkers started pouring in.

(graphic by Hrag Vartanian/Hyperallergic)

Its July 16 launch opened pass reservations through October, and in the four days since its debut, the site has booked over 9,500 tickets. Hyperallergic confirmed with representatives of the program that the site will release more tickets in two weeks for eager patrons hoping to nab free entry to NYC museums. For those of you whose institution of choice is currently booked — like the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum — check back on August 1, when library cardholders will be able to reserve passes through November. Regardless of the new tickets on the way, over 4,000 tickets to various institutions are currently still available on the site.

The program was expected to offer 58,000 passes annually, though representatives have said that will be based on the program’s popularity, a number of organizations have provided additional passes for participants. In the short period that Culture Pass NYC has been available, representatives have confirmed that six additional city institutions have expressed interest in participating.

According to a press release from the New York City libraries about Culture Pass NYC, “In addition to providing passes to this inaugural group of venues, the Culture Pass team is working with select participating institutions to develop new, integrated educational programs at branch libraries tied to the cultural experiences offered through Culture Pass, including workshops, readings, artist or author talks, and other engagement opportunities.” The program is fully funded for the next three years, with the intention of expanding into a permanent fixture of NYC arts culture.

Reservations can be made through culturepass.nyc using an existing library card number and PIN. Passes must be presented at participating institutions on a mobile device or printed. The Queens Library hosts all-access printing free of charge, and Culture Pass has announced that library staff at NYPL and Brooklyn branches will release free printing for the passes upon request. Culture Pass offers informational materials on the program in Spanish, Mandarin, Russian, and Arabic through their website.

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Jasmine Weber

Jasmine Weber is an artist, writer, and former news editor at Hyperallergic. Follow her on Instagram and

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