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20 local museums are offering free admission or deals Saturday for Free Museum Day

For all the community's support of the arts in the bay area, it's nice to be rewarded with free admission once in a while. And that's exactly what many area museums are offering on Saturday.

Most are participating in the Smithsonian's Museum Day Live, a nationwide, annual event started by Smithsonian magazine more than 10 years ago to encourage museums to adopt the Smithsonian Institute's free admission policy for 24 hours. More recently, the city of St. Petersburg initiated its own Arts Alive Free Museum Day that coincides.

Museums affiliated with the Smithsonian offer free admission, but most require a free ticket. Play it safe by signing up and printing your tickets at smithsonianmag.com/museumday; many will also accept your ticket on the screen of your smartphone.

St. Petersburg's Arts Alive also brings special events and free admission, but some places have restrictions. For example, the Dalí Museum offers free admission for Pinellas County residents only; everyone else gets a free voucher to come back Sept. 24 to Oct 17. The Chihuly Collection is reducing admission to $1. Other venues that are always free will offer special discounts.

It's a great opportunity to see the stellar exhibits on display, like Skway: A Contemporary Collaboration at St. Pete's Museum of Fine Arts, which showcases artists from Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota and Pinellas counties. It's also the last weekend to catch Memory, Mind, Matter: The Sculpture of Eduardo Chillida at the Dalí. Be soothed by the sounds of the Florida Orchestra at the Carter G. Woodson African American Museum in St. Petersburg while you view the work of Sonja Griffin Evans.

Here are participating museums.

Smithsonian's Museum Day Live

• Florida Holocaust Museum, 55 Fifth St. S, St. Petersburg. (Also part of Arts Alive)

• Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, 255 Beach Drive NE. (Also part of Arts Alive)

• Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, 600 Klosterman Road, Tarpon Springs. (Requires ticket.)

• Cracker Country, 4800 U.S. 301, Tampa.

• Henry B. Plant Museum, 401 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.

• University of Tampa's Scarfone/Hartley Gallery, 310 N Boulevard, Tampa.

• Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Old Water St., Tampa.

• Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, 200 N Tampa St., Tampa.

• Tampa Museum of Art, 120 W Gasparilla Plaza.

• Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College, 800 E Palmetto St., Lakeland.

• Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.

• South Florida Museum, 201 10th St. W, Bradenton.

St. Petersburg Arts Alive Free Museum Day

• Chihuly Collection, 700 Central Ave. (Admission is $1.)

• Creative Clay Cultural Arts Center, 1846 First Ave. S. (20 percent off all merchandise and art activities for kids.)

• Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, 2240 Ninth Ave. S.

• Florida Craft Art, 501 Central Ave. (10 percent discount on all gallery purchases over $25.)

• Morean Arts Center and Glass Studio, 719 Central Ave.

• Morean Art Center for Clay, 420 22nd St. S.

• Dalí Museum, 1 Dalí Blvd. (Free for Pinellas County residents only.)

• St. Pete Store, 100 Second Ave. NE. (10 percent off store purchases, no minimum purchase required.)

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