SFMOMA, MoAD, Other Yerba Buena Museums Offer Free Entry for 3rd Thursday

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The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

If you’re the kind of person who can spend your entire Thursday cruising the arts and cultural institutions of the Yerba Buena district, have I got a deal for you! (And for those of us with a 9-to-5, start thinking of ways you can ditch work early and head to downtown San Francisco in a few days.)

On Thursday, March 21, for an event that’s being called “Culture for Community,” 11 Yerba Buena arts and culture institutions, including the Museum of the African Diaspora, the California Historical Society, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and (drum roll please) SFMOMA are offering free admission all day (some with extended hours) and special programming in honor of Women’s History Month.

What to See

Mark Sabb, MoAD’s senior director for innovation and engagement says the coordinated theme (and SFMOMA’s participation, they usually sit out 3rd Thursdays) came out of the institutions’ collaboration during the Global Climate Action Summit last September. There was a desire in the wake of that gathering, he says, to reboot the 3rd Thursdays initiative with a more cohesive set of events. A second Culture for Community day is planned (theme TBA) for Sept. 19.

This time around, the thematic programs range from opportune to a stretch to not really there. MoAD, which Sabb says is interpreting “women’s history” more along the lines of “women’s empowerment,” hosts its regular 3rd Thursday open mic night (6–8pm) with special poet guests ASHA and Nazelah Jamison.


Meanwhile, the CJM puts on a Purim Cabaret with San Francisco drag queen Miss Shugana (5–8pm); SFMOMA leads a tour of Vija Celmins’ current retrospective (1:30pm); and the California Historical Society opens two shows about railroads—with curator and historian Natalie Pellolio speaking in the galleries at 5pm.

More details on some of the larger participating institutions and when they’re actually free (because let’s face it, I know what you’re here for):

  • California Historical Society: Free 11am–8pm
  • Contemporary Jewish Museum: Free 11am–8pm
  • MoAD: Free 11am–8pm
  • SFMOMA: Free 10am–9pm (reserve your tickets)
  • YBCA: Free 11am–8pm

See the full list of spaces participating in the March 21 Culture for Community events here.