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Connecticut program allows for children to go to 120 museums for free this summer

Beluga whale exhibit at Mystic Aquarium - File
John Greim
Getty Images
Beluga whale exhibit at Mystic Aquarium - File

Connecticut children 18 and under, plus one adult, will get free admission to a number of museums across the state this summer through the Connecticut Summer at the Museum program. The program is funded through a $10 million investment from federal COVID-19 recovery funding.

It’s a part of the American Rescue Plan Act, according to the governor’s office. The $14 million program is geared towards families, rather than summer camps or large groups. Participating museums include Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, Danbury Railway Museum, EverWonder Children’s Museum, and more. Some may require advanced reservations.

Gov. Ned Lamont established the program in 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a way of encouraging enrichment and learning during the summer months.

“We are thrilled that we can bring back this popular summertime program for 2023 because it provides so many opportunities for Connecticut kids and their families,” 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.”

Any museum in the state can choose to participate in the program, though not all are. Connecticut Summer at the Museum is administered by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development’s Office of the Arts and Connecticut Humanities in partnership with other government departments.

“This initiative expands access to Connecticut’s amazing museums and arts and cultural institutions, creating enriching and rewarding experiences for children and their families,” Liz Shapiro, director of arts and preservation at the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development said. “Instillin our kids with a sense of discovery is vitally important to their growth and above all else, is simply fun.”

More than 120 museums across the state are participating in the free summer program. It started July 1 and will continue through Sept. 4.

Lesley Cosme Torres is an Education Reporter at Connecticut Public. She reports on education inequities across the state and also focuses on Connecticut's Hispanic and Latino residents, with a particular focus on the Puerto Rican community. Her coverage spans from LGBTQ+ discrimination in K-12 schools, book ban attempts across CT, student mental health concerns, and more. She reports out of Fairfield county and Hartford.

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