by Lisa Bickell, Education Director

We drove into Portland, OR, at 3:30 on a Friday, a couple of years ago. We were taking a long weekend to get out of Missoula and see some friends. It was a bit too early for dinner but too late to do much of anything else. And then I realized that it was the perfect time to stop at OMSI, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Because I had my MNHC membership card, which meant that while the museum was only going to be open for a couple more hours, my membership card got us free admission. So we didn’t need to pay the nearly $50 of admission fees to get our family of 4 inside the door.

Yep. My MNHC membership card got all four of us into OMSI for free. And while we were there we checked out some exhibits and spent most of the time in their Turbine Hall which was filled with hands-on learning spaces that even had a room full of Legos. By the time 5:30 rolled around, we were ready for dinner.

kid playing with Legos while wearing astronaut gloves at a science museum

MNHC is a member of the ASTC, the Association of Science – Technology Centers. With this connection, members of MNHC can get free admission into other ASTC member museums across the country and the world.

San Diego Museum of Natural History

We travel with our membership card all the time now. I’ve pulled it out at the San Diego Museum of Natural History, the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, and the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix. We’ve also used our membership benefits at museums closer to Missoula like ExplorationWorks! in Helena and the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman. We usually try to spend a whole day in these museums, since there are halls and halls of science to explore.

two kids looking through a huge telescope at a science center

And now when we travel my kids ask, “Can we go to a museum?”

Yep, we say. That is definitely something we can do.

a young boy standing on a statue of a rhinoceros beetle at a science museum