For many locals, Sacramento’s annual Free Museum Day—usually held the first Saturday in February at museums throughout the region—has become a time-honored tradition, marked in bold on their calendars. Braving chilly weather, unpredictable parking and long lines, families by the thousands would embark on a day of discovery, immersing themselves in the region’s rich history, fine arts and science museums, beloved play spaces and wild places, at no charge (or nearly so). Many venues would offer special programs for the kids, shuttles were available to hop from site to site, and big crowds only added to the day’s energy and excitement.
This year, as the pandemic rages on, crowds are verboten and museums temporarily shuttered. Yet the region’s cultural institutions are more eager than ever to engage with the public. So the Sacramento Area Museums collective (known as SAM) is transforming its Free Museum Day into “I ♥Museum Month,” in which 15 regional museums (and counting!) are offering free digital, virtual and/or social activations for folks to experience from the safety of their homes.
Local museums participating in the 2021 “I ♥ Museum Month” include: Aerospace Museum of California, California Automobile Museum, California Museum, California State Capitol Museum, California State Railroad Museum, California State Library, Crocker Art Museum, Folsom History Museum & Pioneer Village, Locke Boarding House Museum, Roseville Utility Exploration Center, Sacramento Children’s Museum, Sacramento Historic City Cemetery, Sacramento History Museum, Sacramento Regional Fire Museum, SMUD Museum of Science & Curiosity and Verge Center for the Arts.
Although many will miss the many in-person delights of Free Museum Day, “I ♥ Museum Month” promises new, varied and innovative experiences. To find out more about the all-virtual activities, including tours, demos and Facebook Live events, visit the SAM or Facebook page, or follow SAM on Twitter and Instagram.