Free museums on first weekend of month courtesy of B of A

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natural history museumDon't fret if you didn't celebrate Museum Day, the round-the-country free-admission extravaganza arranged by the Smithsonian on September 27. Several corporations have been stepping up so you can steep yourself in culture, admission-free, on other dates.

If you carry a Bank of America card, you're eligible for free entry to more than 70 museums on the first weekend each month. The lineup includes museums in 18 states, but those living close to the coasts will have better luck finding a participating venue nearby. The only states in the country's interior represented are Arizona, Illinois, Michigan and Texas.

This promotion, begun in May, lasts through next April. It's a vast expansion of the bank's sponsorship in years before, which was limited to a month. Either a Bank of America credit or check card gets you in.Plus, Target grants free admission at least one day a week or once a month at more than 40 museums and performances nationwide; you don't even need a Target charge card. More of the Midwest shows up in Target's lineup, which has a diverse range of arts facilities and theaters. Try New York's Museum of Modern Art (free on Fridays) or the Field Museum in Chicago (second Mondays). There's the Please Touch Museum in Philly (first Wednesdays); the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan (Sundays); Museo de las Americas in Denver (first Saturdays); and the California African American Museum in Los Angeles (also Sundays).

Through October 24Detroit is offering free entry to more than 20 museums with a pass from the public library as part of a yearlong program backed by Macy's.

Some cities are designating their own free-admission days for museums all over town:

On September 14, museum doors in Austin opened without charge.

For Houston's Museum District Day, on September 20, 15 museums waived their fees.

Free Fall Baltimore will be celebrated all October with complimentary admission to museums and performances throughout the Maryland city; never mind that visits to the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum are always gratis.

Other museums that will let you in for a song:

Wednesday nights are free at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, courtesy of Citizens Bank.

Chicago Children's Museum is gratis Thursday nights, thanks to Kraft.

In Las Vegas, the Liberace Museum welcomes Nevadans at no cost on the second Sunday of the month.

And those named Isabella can visit Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for free any day.
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