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Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Local museums open their doors for free Saturday

ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday leaves no excuses for missing out on local cultural hubs such as The Dali Museum, the Chihuly Collection or the Museum of Fine Arts.

That's because museums and galleries across town will be waiving admission as part of Arts Alive! The citywide effort aims to bring people out to local museums and galleries who might not otherwise pay for the privilege.

The St. Pete event is happening the same day as Smithsonian magazine's Museum Day Live, when museums across the country let visitors in for free.

“It's just a great way to connect with the community and expose them to the museum,” said Kathy Greif, a spokeswoman for The Salvador Dali Museum.

Standard admission at the Dali is $21, but it's free Saturday for Pinellas County residents. Out-of-county visitors will have to pay for admission, but they will get a voucher for free admission, in hopes they'll come back. The museum is expecting between 4,000 and 5,000 people — nearly five times the normal amount of traffic the museum gets on a given day, Greif said.

Further north along the waterfront, the Museum of Fine Arts will show off its newly renovated space to people from all counties at no charge. The six-month renovation just finished on Wednesday.

“Everybody who comes to our doors gets free admission,” said museum spokesman David Connelly. “We wanted this year to have the premier on free [admission] day, so that we could have as many people as possible come in and see it.”

Keep an eye out for something special if you're headed to the MFA about noon.

Other places offering free admission include the Florida Holocaust Museum, the St. Petersburg Museum of History, the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum in South St. Petersburg and the Leepa Rattner Museum of Art on St. Petersburg College's Tarpon Springs campus.

Admission to the Morean Arts Center's Dale Chihuly Collection will be $1. The Morean Arts Center and Creative Clay will also feature artist talks and demonstrations throughout the day.

Before you head out to a museum offering free admission, check its terms and conditions. Some, such as the Leepa Rattner Museum, require a printed voucher.

For a list of participating museums in St. Petersburg, go to www.stpete.org.

Several museums throughout the Tampa Bay area are taking part in the national Museum Day Live event, including Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales; the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, Henry B. Plant Museum and the Tampa Bay History Center in Tampa; the Armed Forces History Museum in Largo and the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota. For a complete list, go to smithsonianmag.com.


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