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Wadsworth Welcome

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Free Museum Admission for Hartford Residents

Through a partnership with the City of Hartford and our longtime corporate partner Aetna, the Wadsworth Atheneum is proud to announce that admission to the museum is now free for Hartford residents every day the museum is open!

What is Wadsworth Welcome?
Wadsworth Welcome is a new program launched by the Wadsworth Atheneum to offer free admission to all Hartford residents. Read Director Tom Loughman’s statement about the program here.

How do I know if I am eligible for Wadsworth Welcome?
If your residential address is in the city of Hartford, you qualify.

How do I sign up for Wadsworth Welcome?
The process is simple—just like applying for a library card! Next time you visit the museum, bring one form of current and unexpired identification: either your Connecticut driver’s license or a State of Connecticut ID card. If you do not have either of the above, you may provide two of the following forms of identification (note: one must have a photo and the other your current address). There is no cost to enroll in the Wadsworth Welcome program.

  • valid passport
  • check cashing courtesy card
  • school ID card with photo
  • employee ID card with photo
  • Green Card
  • current month’s utility bill or mail postmarked within the past 30 days
  • printed personal check
  • lease or rent receipt (within past 60 days)
  • tax bill or receipt
  • valid car registration or car insurance

What benefits does my Wadsworth Welcome card give me?
Your Wadsworth Welcome card admits you and up to four guests for free every day the museum is open. You can find museum hours here.

What is the difference between Wadsworth Welcome and museum membership?
In addition to free admission, museum members receive discounts in the Museum Shop and Untitled (2017) Café as well as invitations to exclusive member events. If these benefits are important to you, consider becoming a member today!

I do not live in the city of Hartford. How can I receive free admission?
There are many opportunities for everyone to receive free or discounted admission to the Wadsworth Atheneum! Click here to learn more about these opportunities. Some of them are:

  • Museum members and youth under 18 years of age are free year-round
  • The museum offers free “Happy Hour” admission to everyone from 4–5pm every day the museum is open
  • Active-duty military and their families are free at all times
  • Second Saturdays for Families programming offers free admission for all from 10am–1pm on the Second Saturday of each month
  • Bank of America Museums on Us, with free admission the first weekend of every month to Bank of America credit and debit cardholders
  • 200+ local Connecticut libraries carry ARTpasses, which can be borrowed and presented at the Wadsworth Atheneum (and other museums!) to receive free admission for two adults.
Why is the museum offering Wadsworth Welcome?
Because it belongs to you! Director and CEO Tom Loughman offered this statement in an August 23 press conference announcing Wadsworth Welcome:”Art museums like this one—urban in their context, encyclopedic in their collecting, global and regional in their impact and significance—have been experimenting with ways to connect cultural history and contemporary living for as long as art museums have existed. We bring together works of art—50,000 of them—a world of ideas—some of them quite provocative—and people—from far and wide—together. That is our enterprise. Today across the nation, art museums are seen as trusted places where the widest population has ready access to the visual arts and our world’s cultures, even as our collections grow, our perspectives change, and history evolves.When Mayor Bronin and I met for the first time this spring, we talked about the role of this institution and its relationship to the residents of Hartford. I had learned in my first days on the job that we had made great strides in welcoming, increasing participation of Hartford residents through our Second Saturdays program—a monthly community day realized with help from Aetna and communicated through the Hartford Public Schools. But I’d also learned that participation was far greater on Second Saturdays than it was on the other 20 days a month we were open. We share a special relationship with the people living in the city of Hartford, and we talked about doing something that would make an impact.This institution was founded over 170 years ago as a place for art in downtown Hartford, and each successive generation has affirmed that role and enriched this location. One year ago the institution completed its physical rebirth of major proportions. Simultaneously (and still in course) the urban fabric of our immediate neighborhood in downtown has been fundamentally reshaped in a thoughtful way that embraces our future while respecting the past. As a community anchor situated at the epicenter of downtown, we are refreshed and ready to welcome lovers of art from around the world and around the region.By introducing the Wadsworth Welcome program, we begin offering admission to residents of Hartford free of charge every day we are open. Our objective is clear: a message of welcome to those who live in this city that the Atheneum belongs to you. While the museum matters to a global arts community, while it is the largest public art museum in Connecticut and welcomes everyone with an opportunity for enjoyment and learning and self-discovery, we want to honor this special relationship in a particular way that fits in with contemporary life here in Hartford.

In closing, we thank especially Mark Bertolini and the leadership at Aetna, not only for their long-time support of the museum and of the Second Saturdays program, but also for practical help in getting the word out to the people of Hartford through a top-flight advertising campaign.

We celebrate this initiative today shoulder to shoulder with the city of Hartford. Mayor Bronin and his team are invaluable partners, likeminded in their appreciation for the role this institution plays in the cultural fabric of our community and the urban fabric of downtown. We are neighbors, after all, here on Main Street, working together to enable a bright future for the city and for its people.”