The Ocean City Free Public Library offers lectures, programs, movies and, of course, books — lots of them from audio to traditional. And there is something else it offers that isn’t widely known — free museum passes.
“Museums and libraries share an equal mission of bringing education and culture to patrons,” noted Jennifer Shirk, president of the Library Board of Trustees. “I’m so proud our library has this service, which allows more people an opportunity to experience the museums in our area.”
There are two requirements: a valid library card and to be in good standing – that is no overdue items or fines.
One pass gives patrons an entrance on the Battleship New Jersey located on the Camden waterfront.
According to battleshipnewjersey.org, guests can explore five levels up and two decks below, with the main deck featuring an exhibit and museum.
For American history buffs, there is the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, amrevmuseum.org, where library patrons may check out silver camp cups that were part of General George Washington’s camp equipment during the American War of Independence.
People may also view other historic items on display such as a lavish gold-toned George Washington mantel clock and British and French swords.
For nature lovers, the Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor may make for a family-friendly outing, wetlandsinstitute.org.
Some highlights at the Wetlands Institute this time of year take place inside, where staffers give talks about different live animals or a group of animals each day. Families get to view terrapins, fish, crabs, sea stars and urchins.
There is also the famous Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, muttermuseum.org. For those who are not faint of heart, they can explore a bit of the macabre in medical oddities and even see “The Soap Lady” on display.
The list of interesting places that library patrons can go to for free is long, officials explained.
“The museum pass program began about two to two and a half years ago and is gaining popularity each year. Our library patrons really love the program and appreciate the service,” explained Kathryn Brown, adult and circulation services manager.
Brown continued, “It’s a great way for our patrons to visit museums and cultural places that they never thought to visit and without the expense. And then they may decide to join that particular museum. At this point we have 10 different museum passes.”
Museum passes are on loan for one week at a time and one per household. Renewals are not permitted, but you may reserve another available pass upon returning one that was borrowed. Patrons may borrow one pass at a time, and they must be checked out and returned to the second-floor reference desk.
Patrons may reserve the passes in person or by phone at (609) 399-2434, ext. 5231. Library staff will call when the pass is available.
In addition to the aforementioned museum passes, the library is also offering them for an array of other museums, including:
National Constitution Center
Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
Mid-Atlantic Center for Arts and Humanities
National Liberty Museum
Wheaton Arts & Cultural Center
For more information, call the library’s reference desk at (609) 399-2434, ext. 5231.