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Funded by Prestigious Three-Year Grant, Springfield Museums Announce “Free First Wednesdays” Beginning in January 2024

Springfield, MA— The Springfield Museums have been awarded an extraordinary three-year, $800,000 grant from the Art Bridges Foundation as part of a new “Access for All” initiative that is meant to help increase access to museums across the country.

Thanks to this funding, the Museums will introduce “Free First Wednesdays” beginning in January 2024.  All visitors will receive free admission on the first Wednesday of every month for the next three years.

The Springfield Museums are one of just 64 museums in 36 states – and one of only seven in New England — to be awarded one of these prestigious grants. There are 33,000 museums in the United States, according to the American Alliance of Museums.

“The remarkable and unprecedented $800,000 grant from this private foundation will enable our Museums to realize our vision to be an accessible and intergenerational center of community learning and creativity,” stated Kay Simpson, President & CEO of the Springfield Museums. “Our Museums are committed to making art accessible through innovative interpretation and exciting and experiential exhibitions. This historic funding will help us be Museums where everyone feels welcome.”

Based in Bentonville, AR, the Art Bridges Foundation is a national arts nonprofit founded by philanthropist Alice Walton. With its $40-million investment in the “Access for All” initiative, the Foundation hopes to eliminate barriers and encourage more people to visit and engage in more museums across the country.

Other Access for All grantees include the Howard University Gallery of Arts (Washington, D.C.); Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (San Juan, PR); Plains Art Museum (Fargo, ND); Portland Museum of Art (Portland, ME); San Diego Museum of Art (San Diego, CA); Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY); and Yellowstone Art Museum (Billings, MT). Click here for the full list of participating museums.

“We are thrilled to launch Access for All, a historic partnership with cultural institutions across the country to make it easier for people in every U.S. region to see and experience art,” said Ms. Walton. “In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are confident Access for All will not only help to rebuild museum attendance but also bring more people than ever into museum galleries and reshape the arts world as one that is open to all.”

With many museums seeing just 71% of their pre-pandemic attendance, the new initiative will aim to restore pre-pandemic levels – and open opportunities for all people to enjoy American art by reducing barriers to access and strengthening community relationships.

Attendance at the Springfield Museums has been rising steadily over the past two years, and especially in 2023. From July through September of this year, attendance is just 4% below the same period in 2018.

“Our ever-increasing attendance numbers reflect our pledge to be visitor-centric and our institutional values to be Museums without walls — where people come to engage, connect. and be inspired,” said Simpson. “Art Bridges funding will support and elevate this all-important work in ways never before possible.”


About Art Bridges Foundation

Art Bridges Foundation is the vision of philanthropist and arts patron Alice Walton. The mission of Art Bridges is to expand access to American art in all regions across the United States. Since 2017, Art Bridges has been creating and supporting programs that bring outstanding works of American art out of storage and into communities. Art Bridges partners with a growing network of over 220 museums of all sizes and locations on nearly 700 projects across the nation, impacting over 4.1 million people, to provide financial and strategic support for exhibition development, loans from the Art Bridges Collection, and programs designed to educate, inspire, and deepen engagement with local audiences. The Art Bridges Collection represents an expanding vision of American art from the 19th century to present day and encompasses multiple media and voices. For more information, visit, One Admission/Five Museums,
including the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum
Parking is always FREE

THE SPRINGFIELD MUSEUMS are located on the Quadrangle at 21 Edwards Street in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts. The nationally accredited and Smithsonian-affiliated consortium of museums includes the Springfield Science Museum, the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History, the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, and the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum, the only museum dedicated to the beloved children’s book author and Springfield native.


Tuesday-Saturday: 10 am to 5 pm

Sunday: 11 am to 5 pm

Advance tickets are strongly encouraged. Please visit the Tickets page.

The Hanmer Museum Store

Tuesday-Saturday: 10 am to 5 pm

Sunday: 11 am to 5 pm

Food Trucks @ the Blake House Café

Open Tuesday-Sunday 11am-3pm.

For More Information:

Michelle M. Murphy, Vice President of Development and Marketing

413-263-6800, ext. 459