The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco to Offer Free Admission Every Saturday to all Residents of the Bay Area

de Young Museum. Photography by Gary Sexton.

 

SAN FRANCISCO (Wednesday, October 2) – Following the success of Free Saturdays—a program offering free admission to San Francisco residents every Saturday—the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco today announced that they will be extending the program to include the entire Bay Area. Starting October 19, general admission to the de Young and Legion of Honor museums will be free every Saturday for all residents of the nine-county Bay Area.

Admission costs for the first year of the program are underwritten by a significant gift from Diane B. Wilsey, Chair Emerita of the Corporation of the Fine Arts Museums (COFAM) board.

"A vibrant cultural scene is an essential component of a flourishing society, but the Bay Area is an increasingly expensive place to live, which can make the cost of museums prohibitive for many," states Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. "Now, through the enormous generosity of Dede Wilsey, we will be able to open our doors to the 7 million residents living in the Bay Area today, removing monetary barriers.”

The Free Saturdays program was originally launched on April 6, 2019, to expand access for all residents of San Francisco. It has been in effect for almost six months and has already welcomed more than 20,000 visitors. Among those, first-time visitors to the Museums increased by almost 80 percent, with the increase among family visitors at 70 percent and low-income (under $25K a year) households at almost 100 percent.

“The de Young and Legion of Honor museums have held a special place in my heart for well over 20 years,” says Diane B. Wilsey. “I enjoy living in the Bay Area, and with this gift it is my distinct honor to have the opportunity to help others discover the art, architecture, and other wonders that these incredible museums have to offer.”

In addition to granting free general admission on Saturdays, the de Young and Legion of Honor also offer expanded programming as part of the Free Saturdays lineup, including gallery talks, book signings, talks and lectures, family art making, and more. The ever-popular Spreckels organ concerts will continue to take place at the Legion of Honor. All of this programming will also be free.

"Free Saturday admission to these important City institutions helps break down financial barriers that have historically prevented people from experiencing all that San Francisco has to offer,” said Mayor London Breed. “I want to thank Diane Wilsey for her generous support of this program and for her decades of support for the arts community. I look forward to seeing folks from across the Bay Area at The de Young and Legion of Honor on Saturdays.”

The expanded Free Saturdays program joins other free and reduced-admission programs at the Fine Arts Museums, including Free Tuesdays, Free Access, Museums for All, and Discover & Go. Youth ages 17 and under are always free. Details on all the free and reduced-admission program follow.

Free Saturdays

  • Offer: Free general admission every Saturday
  • For: Residents of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma Counties with valid photo ID or postmarked envelope bearing home address
  • Dates and times: Every Saturday beginning October 19, 9:30 am–5:15 pm
  • Locations: The de Young and Legion of Honor
     

Free Tuesdays

  • Offer: Free general admission the first Tuesday of every month
  • For: All visitors
  • Dates and times: The first Tuesday of every month, 9:30 am–5:15 pm
  • Locations: The de Young and Legion of Honor
     

Free Access

  • Offer: Free general admission and discounted special-exhibition admission during normal museum hours and on dedicated Access Days for visitors with disabilities
  • For: Any visitor with a disability plus one guest
  • Date and time: Normal museum hours beginning April 2, 9:30 am–5:15 pm
  • Locations: The de Young and Legion of Honor
     

Bank of America | Museums on Us

  • Offer: Free general admission the first full weekend of every month
  • For: Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, or U.S. Trust cardholders with valid bank card and photo ID
  • Dates and times: First full weekend of every month throughout 2019, 9:30 am–5:15 pm
  • Locations: The de Young and Legion of Honor
     

Museums for All

  • Offer: Free general admission during normal museum hours
  • For: All visitors receiving food assistance (SNAP benefits) with a valid EBT card
  • Date: Normal museum hours beginning April 2, 9:30 am–5:15 pm
  • Locations: The de Young and Legion of Honor
     

Discover & Go

  • Offer: Free general admission during normal museum hours for California library cardholders
  • For: Anyone with a valid library card; redeem online for a Discover & Go museum pass before visiting
  • Dates: Ongoing, 9:30 am–5:15 pm
  • Locations: The de Young and Legion of Honor
     

For more details, please refer to our website.
 

About the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, comprising the de Young museum in Golden Gate Park and the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, are the largest public arts institution in San Francisco.

The de Young originated from the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition in Golden Gate Park and was established as the Memorial Museum in 1895. It was later renamed in honor of Michael H. de Young, who spearheaded its creation. The present copper-clad landmark building, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, opened in 2005. Reflecting an active conversation among cultures, perspectives and time periods, the collections on display include American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from the 17th to the 21st centuries; art from Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; costume and textile arts; and international modern and contemporary art.

The Legion of Honor was inspired by the French pavilion at San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915 and, like that structure, was modeled after the neoclassical Palais de la Légion d’Honneur, in Paris. The museum, designed by George Applegarth, opened in 1924 on a bluff in Lincoln Park overlooking the Golden Gate. It offers unique insight into the art historical, political, and social movements of the previous 4,000 years of human history, with holdings including European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts; ancient art from the Mediterranean basin; and the largest collection of works on paper in the American West.
 

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Miriam Newcomer, Director of Communications | mnewcomer@famsf.org | 415.750.3554