San Francisco Museums for All Is Now Permanent and Year-Round
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and Treasurer José Cisneros today announced the San Francisco Museums for All program will now provide free or reduced admission year-round to more than 20 museums and cultural institutions for residents who receive public benefits, including Medi-Cal and CalFresh.
This expansion aims to support San Francisco’s reopening and recovery, and follows the program’s initial launch in summer 2019 when more than 25,000 free admissions were redeemed by San Franciscans visiting local museums and cultural institutions. To build on the success of the initial summer program, San Francisco Museums for All will now be permanent and offer free year-round admission to one in four San Franciscans who receive Medi-Cal or CalFresh benefits. The expansion of the Museums for All program builds on Mayor Breed’s commitment to providing equitable access to the City’s arts and cultural insinuations and educational opportunities, especially for families and children.
“All San Franciscans, regardless of their income, deserve the opportunity to experience the joy, inspiration, and community that our incredible arts and cultural institutions have to offer,” said Mayor Breed. “As our city recovers and reopens, a permanent San Francisco Museums for All program will give families an opportunity to engage in safe, healthy, and enriching activities at a time when they need it most.”
The expansion of the Museums for All program advances a key priority of the City’s Economic Recovery Task Force by serving San Francisco’s most vulnerable residents and ensuring all San Franciscans can access and enjoy the City’s unique cultural assets. Admission fees at many institutions can range from $20 to $150 for a family of four to visit, which often creates a barrier for people to access the cultural and educational benefits that these institutions offer. Families with low incomes often do not go to museums because of prohibitively expensive ticket prices.
Over the past year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many museums and cultural institutions either closed completely or pivoted to virtual programming. As San Francisco reopens and recovers, the San Francisco Museums for All Program will help support and bring people back to the City’s museums and cultural institutions. A survey of museums and cultural institutions that participate in the national Museums for All program demonstrated that making museum admission free improved attendance numbers and diversified museum attendance.
The San Francisco Museums for All program was created and administered in collaboration with Treasurer José Cisneros’s Financial Justice Project. The Financial Justice Project works to ensure that lower-income residents receive discounts on fines and fees that place a disproportionate burden on low-income families.
“No one should be excluded from our world class museums because of the size of their wallet,” said Treasurer José Cisneros. “A truly inclusive city is one where all residents have the opportunity to experience the wonder and excitement of our museums and cultural institutions.”
“Young or old, museums help shape our lives and minds,” said Vallie Brown, Director of Grants for the Arts. “Offering the museum experience free to all San Franciscans is the same as offering free education, it's vital to a thriving society.”
The San Francisco Human Services Agency (HSA) coordinates the San Francisco Museums for All program. San Francisco residents who currently receive public benefits from HSA can receive free admission at participating museums for up to four individuals when they present their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card or Medi-Cal card and proof of San Francisco residency.
“The San Francisco Museums for All program has been incredibly successful, and I am thankful to our museums and government partners for their continued commitment to equity,” said Trent Rhorer, Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Services Agency, “We’re coming together to invite all households who receive public benefits to visit our world-class museums so they too can experience the cultural abundance of our city.”
Participating cultural institutions currently include:
- Asian Art Museum
- Cable Car Museum
- California Academy of Sciences *
- Cartoon Art Museum
- Children's Creativity Museum
- Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco
- Chinese Historical Society of America
- Conservatory of Flowers
- The Contemporary Jewish Museum
- de Young Museum
- GLBT Historical Society Museum
- Legion of Honor Museum
- Museum of Craft and Design
- Museum of the African Diaspora
- Randall Museum
- San Francisco Botanical Garden
- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
- San Francisco Recreation and Park Departments’ Japanese Tea Garden
- San Francisco Railway Museum
- Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
* - California Academy of Sciences offering reduced $3 admission.
Updated information on reopening policies and making online reservations, if needed, can be found at sfmuseumsforall.org, by calling 311, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The arts are an essential part of San Francisco’s vibrancy and will continue to play an important role in the City’s recovery from COVID-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic, San Francisco has supported artists, and arts and cultural organizations with a variety of funding and programs. Mayor Breed’s proposed City budget for the next two years includes significant investments to ensure that arts and cultural programs are able to operate, grow, and recover in San Francisco. Included in the Mayor’s proposed budget is $16.2 million to backfill the loss of hotel taxes, which fund San Francisco arts organizations.