Last year, I bought an art museum membership for our family. However, rather than spending $75 for the family membership, I paid $150 for the sustaining membership. Why did I choose to spend more? Because spending more saved us money overall.

How Buying an Art Museum Membership Saved Us Money

I had one main reason why I spent more for a sustaining membership.

The sustaining membership included membership in the NARM (North American Reciprocal Museum) Association. There are 1,166 museums in this association, many of which my family and I could visit for free with the art museum’s sustaining membership.

How Much Did We Save Over the Year?

We’ve used the sustaining membership pass at the art museum and other museums.

Trips to the Art Museum

We went to the art museum three times before we moved out of state. Each visit would have cost our family $43, so we would have spent $129 without the membership after three visits.

With those three visits, we wouldn’t have recouped the $150 sustaining membership. However, we used the membership at several NARM institutions and recouped our money.

Traveling in Philadelphia

Buying an Art Museum Membership Saved Us Money

Recently, my husband went to a conference in Philadelphia, and my younger two children and I went with him. Since he was driving there and staying in a hotel, we just came along, making that part of the trip free for us. All we had to do was pay for our food and entertainment while my husband was busy with work. Thanks to the museum membership, our entertainment was frugal.

Museum of the American Revolution

We went to the Museum of the American Revolution for free with our art museum membership. Without it, regular admission would have cost us $47.

If we combined the $129 we would have paid for visiting the art museum three times with the admission of the Museum of the American Revolution, we would have spent a total of $176, meaning the museum membership saved us $26. However, we used it more than that.

Battleship New Jersey

We also visited Battleship New Jersey, which would have cost the girls and me a hefty $75 self-guided tour fee. But, thanks to the NARM association, we only paid $25, so the museum membership saved us another $50.

While we went to other places in Philadelphia, they weren’t covered in the NARM association. However, by using the sustaining museum membership, we saved $76 above the price of the museum membership.

Clearly, buying an art museum membership saved us money.

More to Come

We have one month left in our sustaining museum membership, and we still have a few more NARM associations that we want to visit, so potentially we will save more than $76 with our annual membership.

Final Thoughts

The next time you go to a museum or an art gallery, rather than paying the fee for one visit, look into purchasing a membership, especially if a membership gives you reciprocal admission into museums and galleries throughout the United States.

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Melissa Batai
Melissa Batai

Melissa is a writer and virtual assistant. She earned her Master’s from Southern Illinois University, and her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan. When she’s not working, you can find her homeschooling her kids, reading a good book, or cooking. She resides in Arizona where she dislikes the summer heat but loves the natural beauty of the area.