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The de Young Museum. Photo: Andrei Zmievski/Flickr.
The de Young Museum. Photo: Andrei Zmievski/Flickr.

San Francisco Museums to Offer Free Admission Weekend

Twenty-one San Francisco arts institutions will waive admission fees for visitors the weekend of December 3–4, thanks to a gift from an anonymous donor. Museums already offering free admission will provide free entry to special events and exhibitions that would otherwise cost money to attend. The donation, of an unspecified amount, comes as the City by the Bay battles its image as a soulless tech hub in cultural and fiscal decline, as limned in a recent article in the New York Times. Thanks in varying measures to the Covid-19 crisis, which emptied office buildings throughout the city, and to the yawning wealth gap and attendant housing crisis spurred by the arrival of numerous tech giants in hilly metropolis, San Francisco has struggled to retain its creative class and the air of vibrancy it once possessed.

“The San Francisco Free Museum Weekend couldn’t come at a better time,” Jay Xu, the director and CEO of the Asian Art Museum, told the SF Chronicle. “As we re-emerge from the challenges of the past months, Bay Area museums are here to help our communities reconnect with each other and with the artists that inspire them.”

“In these economically challenging and politically divided times, museums provide a critical place of discourse, reflection and inspiration,” asserted Thomas P. Campbell, director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, in a statement. “Increasing access to art spaces and removing barriers to experiencing art is crucial.”

The following institutions will waive fees on December 3–4:

American Bookbinders Museum

California Academy of Sciences

Cartoon Art Museum

de Young Museum

GLBT Historical Society Museum

Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco

Legion of Honor

Letterform Archive

McEvoy Foundation for the Arts

Minnesota Street Project

Museum of Craft and Design

SF Camerawork

Truhlsen-Marmor Museum of the Eye

Walt Disney Family Museum

The following institutions will waive fees on December 4 only:

Asian Art Museum

Children’s Creativity Museum

Contemporary Jewish Museum


Museum of African Diaspora

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art