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Smithsonian Magazine Sponsors Museum: 20 Philly Museums FREE

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Image Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, PhiladelphiaLooking to infuse a bit of culture into your weekend? What about if it's free?

Saturday is Museum Day, sponsored by Smithsonian Magazine, which means free admission to about 20 museums in Philadelphia that are participating in the event.

This is the fifth year Smithsonian Magazine has held the event and interest in it has grown ever since, according to Elizabth Stoll, promotion coordinator for Smithsonian Media.

"It's gotten bigger every year," claims Stoll.

When it first started, only a few hundred museums from around the country participated. But this year, there are more than 1250 — about 60 of which are from Pennsylvania alone.

Stoll explained that part of the magazine's goal is to increase and disperse knowledge to people around the nation. "Smithsonian Magazine is doing their part by giving access to museums many people may not normally have access to," she said.

Admission fees at some of the institutes can range from about $10 to about $15 per person, and even more so for guests looking to gain access to special exhibits. Waiving the fee for one day means more people who may not normally have interest in expanding their cultural knowledge with a museum visit may do so because of the affordability, Stoll said.

Those people taking advantage of the free entrance Museum Day offers may opt to go to the bigger known establishments like The Academy of Natural Sciences, The Franklin Institute, or the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

"It has also been great for the smaller museums that don't get that much traffic," Stoll continued.

Some of the lesser traveled institutes — like Fireman's Hall Museum on North 2nd Street which presents America's history of firefighting, or the Independence Seaport Museum on Columbus Boulevard that shows off the area's maritime history in the two floors of exhibits — are also participating in the event.

Take your husband or your dad to check out some of the rare and most significant sports cars ever built at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum on Norwitch Drive.

Bring the kids to the Franklin Institute to explore the giant heart or take their turn at being an engineer in the train factory. Or take a date to the museum at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts to view its more than 300 sculptural works and 1,800 paintings. To gain free entry during Saturday's event, guests will need to print out an admission card that is good for two people.

The card and more information about Museum Day can be found at http://microsite.smithsonianmag.com/museumday/

The following Philadelphia museums are participating: Fireman's Hall Museum, Historic St. George's, Independence National Historical Park, Independence Seaport Museum, Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), National Liberty Museum, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia Art Alliance, Rosenbach Museum & Library, Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum, The Academy of Natural Sciences, The Franklin Institute, The Galleries at Moore, Moore College of Art & Design, The Print Center, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.