Explore more museums during Big Exchange


The annual Big Exchange program is returning bigger and better than ever for museum members. For those who belong to the San Diego Museum Council (or decide to start a new museum membership), free entrance will be granted to all 35 arts and culture museums that are part of the council.

What’s new this year is that rather than the offer extending for only two weeks, the benefit will last the whole month of May.

“Museum membership has its benefits, and the Big Exchange program is definitely one of them,” said April Tellez, marketing chair of the San Diego Museum Council and public relations and social media manager of the San Diego Natural History Museum. “During the month of May, members of San Diego Museum Council institutions can experience the wonderful diversity of museums in the region at little to no cost.”

To receive free admission, museum members only need to present their membership card at the other participating museums’ visitor services desks. Now is a good time to stop making excuses and purchase a membership to your favorite museum and enjoy this annual benefit.

Last year some 8,170 museum members participated in the program. The event is part of the council’s two other signature programs, Macy’s Museum Month in February and Kids Free in October.

Free admission doesn’t include upcharge exhibitions, films or events. Balboa Park Explorer passholders are not included in the program. For more information, visit

Participating organizations

Barona Cultural Center & Museum

Birch Aquarium at Scripps

Bonita Museum

California Surf Museum

Coronado Museum of History & Art

Flying Leatherneck Aviation

Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House

Heritage of the Americas Museum

Japanese Friendship Garden

Living Coast Discovery Center

Maritime Museum of San Diego

Mingei International Museum

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

Museum of Making Music

Museum of Photographic Arts

New Americans Museum

San Diego Archaeological Center

San Diego Art Institute

San Diego Automotive Museum

San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum

San Diego Chinese Historical Museum

San Diego History Center Museum

San Diego Model Railroad Museum

San Diego Natural History Museum (theNAT)

The New Children’s Museum

The San Diego Museum of Art

Timken Museum of Art

USS Midway Museum

Veterans Museum at Balboa Park

Visions Art Museum

Warner-Carrillo Ranch House Museum

The Water Conservation Garden

Whaley House Museum Oceanside Museum of Art

Women’s Museum of California