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Free museum day returns to Tampa Bay on Saturday

Tickets must be reserved online in advance.
Visitors line up to enter the Dalí Museum in 2020. The museum is offering free admission to Pinellas County residents for Free Museum Day on Sept. 18, 2021.
Visitors line up to enter the Dalí Museum in 2020. The museum is offering free admission to Pinellas County residents for Free Museum Day on Sept. 18, 2021. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Published Sep. 14

After the pandemic canceled Free Museum Day in 2020, it returns on Saturday. And like years before, there are two ways to visit participating Tampa Bay museums for free.

Smithsonian magazine’s Free Museum Day includes venues across the nation and locally. Tickets must be reserved online first.

Other venues are also hosting Free Museum Day, but are not affiliated with the magazine’s. The Dalí Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg are participating in Arts Alive Free Museum Day. The James Museum and Imagine Museum are hosting Free Museum Day, while the Ringling has dubbed Saturday “Extraordinary Experience Day.“ Tickets must be reserved online in advance on each venue’s website.

Like past years, there are a few catches. The Dalí Museum deal is offered to Pinellas County residents only. At the Museum of Fine Arts, special exhibitions are for members only, but guests can view the permanent collection. The free pass to Imagine Museum is limited to the first floor galleries.

In addition to the Dalí's permanent collection, guests can view “The Woman who Broke Boundaries: Photographer Lee Miller” and “Aimé Césaire: Poetry, Surrealism and Négritude.”

A gallery shot of "The Woman who Broke Boundaries: Photographer Lee Miller" at the Dalí Museum.
A gallery shot of "The Woman who Broke Boundaries: Photographer Lee Miller" at the Dalí Museum. [ DAVID DERANIAN | Courtesy of the Dalí Museum. ]
Related: Learn the legacy of Black surrealist poet for free at the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg.

Take a journey into the mind of a contemporary surrealist painter and protege of Dalí with “Louis Markoya: A Deeper Understanding” at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs.

"A Deeper Understanding, Louis Markoya Self Portrait, 2021," is on display at Markoya’s exhibit, "A Deeper Understanding," on view through February 6, 2022, at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art at St. Petersburg College in Tarpon Springs.
"A Deeper Understanding, Louis Markoya Self Portrait, 2021," is on display at Markoya’s exhibit, "A Deeper Understanding," on view through February 6, 2022, at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art at St. Petersburg College in Tarpon Springs. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

With health and safety in mind, each venue has guidelines including mask requirements. Check their websites for information.

SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE’S MUSEUM DAY

Find tickets for the following venues at smithsonianmag.com. The ticket entitles two people to free admission for one museum per email account.

Florida Holocaust Museum, 55 Fifth St. S, St. Petersburg. flholocaustmuseum.org.

Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Water St., Tampa. tampabayhistorycenter.org.

Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, 400 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. fmopa.org.

Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, 600 E Klosterman Road, Tarpon Springs. leeparattner.org.

Ybor City Museum State Park, 1818 Ninth Ave., Tampa, ybormuseum.org.

FREE MUSEUM DAY

The following museums require advanced timed tickets to be reserved online. In some cases, hours and special exhibitions are limited.

The Dalí Museum, 1 Dalí Blvd. (Bayshore Drive and Fifth Ave. SE), St. Petersburg. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Available for Pinellas County residents only. thedali.org.

Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Entrance to special exhibitions is for members only. mfastpete.org.

The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art, 150 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. thejamesmuseum.org.

Imagine Museum, 1901 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. The ticket allows access to first floor galleries only. imaginemuseum.com.

The Ringling Museum, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Ticket allows access to the museum of art, the circus museum and Bayfront Gardens. For $10, guests can add a first floor walk-through of Ca’ d’Zan. ringling.org.