Governor Ned Lamont announced this week that the popular state program Connecticut Summer at the Museum is returning for the 2022 summer season, enabling Connecticut children to receive free admission at more than 130 museums across the state during the summer months.
The governor established the program in 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a way of providing children with engaging summer enrichment and learning experiences. It is funded through a $15 million investment in federal COVID-19 recovery funding Connecticut received from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
Under the program, from July 1, 2022, to September 5, 2022, Connecticut children aged 18 and under – plus one accompanying Connecticut adult – can receive free admission to any of the participating museums, including historic house museums, historic sites, historical societies, art museums, children’s museums, science centers, special-interest museums, natural history museums, university museums, arboretums/botanical gardens and zoos.
The full list of participating museums is available at www.CTSummerMuseums.com.
Some of the notable attractions include:
- Connecticut Science Center, Hartford
- Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, Bridgeport
- Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington
- Institute for American Indian Studies Museum & Research Center, Washington
- Kidcity Children’s Museum, Middletown
- Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, Norwalk
- Mystic Aquarium, Mystic
- Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic
- Prudence Crandall Museum, Canterbury
“We are thrilled to bring back this popular summer enrichment program for Connecticut kids and families at a time when affordability is top of mind for so many households,” Governor Lamont said. “The world-class museums and cultural institutions across Connecticut offer unmatched educational and recreational experiences that will keep kids engaged all season long and spark curiosity for years to come.”
“Governor Lamont and I are very proud to be able to offer this program to Connecticut children and families,” Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz said. “Free museum admission is a great way to spark children’s curiosity and keep them engaged before next school year, continuing their learning at no cost to mom and dad.”
“We fought for federal ARPA funding to help increase educational and cultural opportunities for Connecticut children,” the members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation said in a joint statement. “Free access to Connecticut’s world class museums and cultural institutions will provide our youth with countless educational, creative, and recreational experiences.”
The Connecticut Summer at the Museum program is being administered by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development’s Office of the Arts and Connecticut Humanities in partnership with the Office of the Governor, Connecticut State Department of Education, Office of Early Childhood, and Office of Tourism.
While any museum in Connecticut can choose to participate in the program by offering free admission, eligible properties had an opportunity to apply for grant funding. More than 120 grants were awarded, calculated based on the applicant’s average revenue from children’s admissions over the same period for multiple years, plus a base award tied to operating budget. The minimum grant award is $1,000.
“Museums and other arts and cultural institutions play an important role in our local communities and economies, plus they are rich canvases for socio-emotional development in young people,” Liz Shapiro, director of arts, preservation, and museums at the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, said. “This is the only program of its kind in the United States. We applaud all participating museums and encourage everyone to take advantage.”
“Between zoos, aquariums, museums, and more, Connecticut’s children and families have access to enriching educational opportunities to ensure learning continues to happen every day, everywhere during the summer months,” Connecticut Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker said. “This is critical to our collective efforts to accelerate learning this summer and into the next school year.”
“Connecticut has an incredibly diverse array of museums reflecting our state’s different histories, cultures and communities – all of which contribute to our vibrant tourism scene,” Noelle P. Stevenson, director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism, said. “We are thrilled to help spread the word about this unique program for state residents and the magnificent institutions it supports. ‘Find Your Vibe’ this summer at Connecticut museums!”
Participating museums have discretion to administer the Connecticut Summer at the Museum program to the best of their ability and according to their needs. Certain restrictions may apply, and capacity may be limited (e.g., limit to one adult per household, block-out dates, exclusions for special events, etc.). Connecticut residents should check each museum’s website to learn of any restrictions before visiting.
Additionally, Governor Lamont is reminding residents that all public transit buses in Connecticut are operating fare-free through November 30, 2022, and are a convenient way of receiving transportation to many of these great destinations.
Anyone taking advantage of this program is encouraged to share their experiences on social media using the program hashtag, #CTSummerMuseums.