Museum dinosaur
A dinosaur at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Courtesy photo

More than 30 museums and other cultural institutions across San Diego County are participating in the “Big Exchange” in May, a program of reciprocal membership organized by the San Diego Museum Council.

The program provides museum members with a unique opportunity to explore San Diego’s diverse arts and cultural scene, by visiting an array of museums, historic sites, gardens, aquariums, zoos and more across the county.

“The Big Exchange is like a free trial membership, so it’s great opportunity to check out someplace new or that you haven’t visited for a while,” said San Diego Museum Council Executive Director Theresa Kosen.

“Our goal is to encourage museum membership growth in the region,” she added. “We hope San Diegans will discover some new favorites and decide to support them after the exchange by purchasing memberships and enjoying the many year-round benefits.”

This year’s program will run from May 1 to May 18, ending on International Museum Day. The following museums and cultural institutions are participating:

  • Barona Museum & Cultural Center
  • San Diego Art Institute
  • Birch Aquarium at Scripps
  • San Diego Automotive Museum
  • Bonita Museum
  • San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
  • California Surf Museum
  • San Diego Chinese Historical Museum
  • Coronado Museum of History & Art
  • San Diego Archaeological Center
  • Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum
  • San Diego History Center
  • Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House
  • San Diego Model Railroad Museum
  • Heritage of the Americas Museum
  • San Diego Natural History Museum
  • Japanese Friendship Garden
  • The New Children’s Museum
  • Living Coast Discovery Center
  • The San Diego Museum of Art
  • Maritime Museum of San Diego
  • Timken Museum of Art
  • Marston House Museum & Garden
  • USS Midway Museum
  • Mingei International Museum
  • Veterans Museum at Balboa Park
  • Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
  • Visions Art Museum
  • Museum of Making Music
  • Warner-Carrillo Ranch House Museum
  • Museum of Photographic Arts
  • The Water Conservation Garden
  • New Americans Museum
  • Whaley House Museum
  • Oceanside Museum of Art
  • Women’s Museum of California

During the Big Exchange, anyone who is a member at one of the participating institutions can enjoy full reciprocal free admission to the others during the promotion. So a single-person membership at a participating museum provides one free admission to another, while a family-level membership provides access for up to four guests.

Museum of Making Music
The Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad. Courtesy photo

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.