Free museums in Philadelphia exist, and surprisingly, we have a lot of them. While some offer a pay-what-you-wish pricing model, others are absolutely, positively free. Whether you’re interested in learning about the life of famous literary figures like Edgar Allen Poe or getting schooled on the history of the Mummers, here is our running list of free museums in Philadelphia.
Science History Institute
315 Chestnut St.
This hidden gem used to be called the Chemical Heritage Foundation and if you’re a science nerd, this is your spot. Housed in a bank building from the Civil War period, the Science History Institute features one of the largest collection of rare books on chemistry in the world, photographs reflecting the history of chemistry and a collection of historic scientific instruments.
Admission is free.
Edgar Allan Poe National Historical Site
532 N. 7th Street
Are you a big literary junkie? And did you know Edgar Allan Poe spent his most productive years living in Philadelphia? Then you should definitely visit the Edgar Allan Poe National Historical Site, where Poe used to live and care for his sick wife. Admission is free and you can even get a free tour from a park ranger from Friday through Sunday.
1100 S. 2nd St.
Philly wouldn’t be Philly without the Mummers! Here’s your chance to learn all about the iconic Philadelphia parade and its history, in their very own museum in South Philly. Learn how Swedish settlers first brought over the tradition of dressing in costumes and performing pantomimes at Christmas to Philadelphia and check out tons of cool Mummers memorabilia.
Admission is free.
The Fabric Workshop and Museum
1214 Arch St.
If you’re in the mood to be surprised and inspired, a visit to The Fabric Workshop and Museum is a must. They invite artists-in-residence to create exciting, new contemporary work using out-of-the-box materials. Artists featured in their permanent collection include Louise Bourgeois, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Ann Hamilton, Reverend Howard Finster, Anish Kapoor, Robert Kushner, Glenn Ligon, Robert Morris, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown and Carrie Mae Weems. Admission is free but a $5 donation is suggested.