Each year the Smithsonian Institute and affiliates host Free Museum Day. This annual event offers free admission for one person and a guest to participating museums and cultural destinations around the county. Please note that free admission is valid for general admission only. Additional charges may apply for special exhibits, events or activities. Register online for tickets.
Here's a guide to museums participating in Smithsonian Museum Day on September 22, 2012. You don't have to wait until September for an opportunity to visit Orange County museums for free. Check out this guide to free museum days and art walks in Orange County throughout the year.
Explore the history and legacy of surfing at the International Surfing Museum in Huntington Beach. The permanent collections feature surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku, surf related films and music, surf boards and other memorabilia. Other exhibits include original surf art and photography, Huntington Beach Pier history, the Surfing Walk of fame and more.
This museum of international culture and art is one of Orange County’s largest and has been voted the best museum in the County in the O.C. Register’s “Best of O.C.” reader poll 14 years in a row. The Bowers collection and exhibits include artworks from Native American, Pacific Islander, African, South American and Asian cultures as well as pre-Columbian and Orange County History. There is also a Kidseum, where kids can enjoy an interactive exploration of cultural art.
Formerly the home of one of Orange County’s first female doctors, the Howe-Waffle House is one of few Queen Anne Victorian homes left in the O.C. The Howe-Waffle House was moved from its original location to save it from an urban renewal project. It has since been restored and is now a historical landmark in Santa Ana’s Historic District. Visitors can tour the home’s elaborate rooms as well as the restored turn-of-the-century medical facility housed within.
This museum of American and California art is located in the prestigious Orange County city of Laguna. Its permanent collection includes works from more than 65 artists. Current exhibits include an exploration of the influence of Japanese artist Noguchi on California, Noguchi inspired wood works from the Young Artists Society Gallery, and a showing of works from Lita Albiquerque’s Red Pigment Paintings.
Mission San Juan Capistrano is one of 17 missions founded as part of the Spanish mission of spreading Christianity to the Native populations of California. Mission San Juan Capistrano stands now as a key element in the history of Orange County, California, where visitors can go on audio or guided tours, and explore the historic artifacts and other Mission exhibits.