The Free Pass That’s Turning New York Kids into Culture Buffs

Cool Culture makes 90 New York museums and cultural institutions to low-income families - for free.

Mother and daughter at a history museum.

(Iakov Filimonov /


Arts and culture have been shown to have a positive influence on early childhood literacy, and give children the best chance to succeed in school. Though for many New York families, museum visits are not within their budget. The Cool Culture Family Pass Program wants to help, by opening up 90 New York museums and cultural institutions for low-income families across the five boroughs.

Along with unlimited free access, the program gives parents ideas to make the visits fun and interactive - in English, Spanish and Chinese. From hands-on art projects and storytelling to the Cool Culture Hunt Cards that encourage families to keep learning after exploring a museum, the programs aims to do exactly what its name suggests - make culture cool for kids.

The social initiative has a positive effect on various sectors - not just the families that benefit directly. Cool Culture helps schools by getting preschoolers ready to start their formal education, and assists museums in refining their outreach to New York’s most underserved communities. In a city where thousands of families earn less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Line, programs like Cool Culture provide a real solution - getting children ready and excited to make the most of their entire education.

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