The City and County of San Francisco launched the San Francisco Museums for All Program in 2019. In 2022, over 130,000 people visited museums and cultural institutions for free or $3 through the SF Museums for All program. This issue brief describes how the SF Museums for All program launched, outreach strategies used to advertise the program, the impact of the program, and how other cities and jurisdictions can expand museum access to all residents in their communities.
San Francisco is home to some of the world’s greatest cultural institutions—from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to the de Young to the California Academy of Sciences. Many families in San Francisco, however, cannot afford the entrance fees to visit these and other institutions. San Francisco Museums for Allenables individuals and families that currently receive means-tested public benefits, such as Medi-Cal and CalFresh, to receive up to four free or $3 tickets to any participating museum when they present their benefits card and proof of San Francisco residency. More than 250,000 people–nearly one in three San Franciscans–receive one of these public benefits.
San Francisco Museums for All is a highly successful and important program that removes economic barriers and increases museum accessibility for low-income San Franciscans. The SF Museums for All program can also help reduce economic and racial disparities among residents since museum visits are linked to cognitive and educational development. This program ensures all San Franciscans can enjoy our world class cultural treasures, regardless of their income.
The program is a collaborative partnership between the Office of Mayor London N. Breed, the San Francisco Financial Justice Project in the Treasurer’s Office, the Human Services Agency, the San Francisco Arts Commission, the San Francisco Parks and Recreation, and museums and cultural institutions throughout the city. We are proud of the SF Museums for All initiative and hope that this issue brief will help other jurisdictions that aim to expand museum accessibility, diversity, and inclusion.