NYC Public Libraries Have Added 17 Institutions to the Free Culture Pass Roster

If you have a library card, you now have access to 50 cultural organizations across New York City. In its first year, the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), The New York Public Library (NYPL), and Queens Public Library (QPL) Culture Pass initiative issued more than 70,000 free passes for thousands of New York library cardholders, breaking down institution barriers for people in many different communities. This year, the libraries have added 17 cultural institutions to the Culture Pass roster, bringing the total to 50 institutions that people can visit for free across all five boroughs.

The 17 new institutions people can attend for free are:

  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Asia Society Museum
  • Bard Graduate Center
  • China Institute
  • Fraunces Tavern Museum
  • Japan Society
  • Lewis H. Latimer House
  • Museum of Arts and Design
  • New Museum
  • New York Botanical Garden
  • New-York Historical Society
  • The Noble Maritime Collection
  • Second Stage Theater
  • The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park
  • The Shed
  • The Skyscraper Museum
  • Swiss Institute

The Culture Pass initiative was created to bridge the gap between arts institutions and the city’s underserved communities, and more than 44,000 of the 70,000 passes used last year were reserved by members of these neighborhoods. The libraries also launched a four-month pilot program at branch locations that offered 142 community programs like workshops, readings, artist and author talks, and more to library members. More than 2,200 residents attended these engagement programs.  

NYC Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl spoke to the need for inclusivity at arts institutions in all boroughs.  

“To make our cultural institutions open, inclusive, welcoming spaces for all New Yorkers, it’s not enough to open doors–you also have to invite people through them, and Culture Pass does exactly that,” he said. “Libraries are hubs for community, education, and social connections, and they make a natural entry point for residents from every neighborhood into our city’s extraordinary cultural community. We are proud to support this incredible program for another year, and applaud the three library systems and their cultural partners for their vision and commitment to expanding cultural access for all New Yorkers.”

The 17 organizations above include the Culture Pass initiative’s first three performing arts venues. To enjoy a free day at any of the 50 Culture Pass venues, reserve your pass online using your library card, then display your printed or digital pass at an institution to gain admission.