Books and benefits: BPL offers museum deals

By Lisa Nault

Staff Writer

Library cards provide the most powerful gift of all: knowledge. They allow people to learn new topics, explore fantastical worlds, and adventure into the past. If you have a Boston Public Library (BPL) card, there is more you can do than you realize. With a BPL card you can receive a variety of free or discounted deals. People can use their card to go around the Greater Boston area and visit several popular attractions.


The Boston Public Library offers more than books to members; museum passes are available, too. Source:


Before listing the deals everyone can get with a BPL card, it must be stated that getting a library card is simple. Anyone who is a Massachusetts resident, Massachusetts property owner, commutes to work in Massachusetts, is a resident of temporary housing in Massachusetts, and students who reside in Massachusetts while attending school can apply for a card.

All people have to do is apply at one of BPL locations (the central library is in Copley Square) and bring a  photo ID which includes their name, present address, and has their signature. The easiest form of ID is a Massachusetts drivers license or state ID but people can bring their mail with their address on it with a health card or student ID. After you are a cardholder, you can take trips around Boston to these wonderful places.

1) Museum of Science

The BPL card allows the holder to pick up a free pass to the Museum of Science that will admit up to four people. At the Museum of Science, people can visit a variety of exhibits including but not limited to the live animal care center, hall of human life, colossal fossil and dinosaur models, and the lightning electricity show. The museum’s mission is for people to understand and appreciate the impact science and technology has on us. It is one of the most popular museums in Boston and if you missed the museum’s College Night, a BPL card gives you another chance at free admission.

2) New England Aquarium

Again, a BPL card allows people to pick up a free pass that will admit four people for an adventure to the New England Aquarium. Unlike the Museum of Science pass, this one is only offered from September to June. All that means is you can take a trip during the school year instead of in the summertime when it is extremely crowded. Here you can check out all types of aquatic creatures: penguins, giant sea turtles, octopuses, and more. You can reach out and feel little sharks and stingrays in the Shark and Ray Touch Tank. Watch out for colorful fish and try to find the ones that look like characters from “Finding Nemo” in the Giant Ocean Tank that is 26 feet deep.

3) USS Constitution Museum

Wanna take a trip with a big group of friends? Use your BPL card to pick up one pass to the USS Constitution Museum. The pass allows free admission for up to nine people. The museum is a part of the Boston National Historical Park in Boston. Current displays include the hands-on Forest to Frigate exhibit which educates patrons about President George Washington’s decision to create a navy and the All Hands on Deck: A Sailor’s Life in 1812 exhibit that uses activities to tell the tales of men and women who lived at sea.

4) Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)

Experiencing ICA is a treat many should give to themselves. A BPL card can give people a discounted pass that admits up to two adults for $5 per person. ICA is known for its collection of contemporary art in all forms of media. Not only will you see art on the walls but you will see exhibitions that use music, film, video, and performance to share a vision. It provides people with the opportunity to appreciate and understand an experimental art form for a reasonable price. These passes may not be available at all BPL locations so check the BPL website before attempting to get passes.

5) Zoo New England

Do you love animals? A BPL card can get you discounted passes at $6 per adult and $4 per child for Zoo New England, which includes the Franklin Park and Stone zoos. Zoo New England educates visitors about the importance of protecting the natural world as they interact and observe the wildlife. You can also receive a 10 percent discount at the zoo’s concessions and gift store for 6 people with the BPL card. These passes change in terms of exact benefits so definitely check the website first and to see which library locations the passes are available.

These are only a select few out of the many free and discounted passes the Boston Public Library and its library cards have to offer. Other significant attractions include the John F Kennedy Library and Museum, Boston Children’s Museum, Harvard Museum of Natural History, and parking passes for Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation Parks. Whether people get the library card for the deals, the books, or both, they will be satisfied.

One thought on “Books and benefits: BPL offers museum deals

  1. It is important to note that the museum pass program at the PPL is funded by the City-Wide Friends of the Boston Public Library. The Friends also fund the online museum pass reservation system. The major source of income that allows the Friends to make these investments in our library comes from our book sales, which occur on the first Saturday of even numbered months. For further information please visit

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