Sunday not only marks the close of the touring exhibit “Speed: Science In Motion” at the Mayborn Museum Complex, it also means the end to the museum’s First Sunday free admission program.

In its place, the museum will offer three ways to visit the museum for free or reduced prices, including a Waco-McLennan County Library and Hewitt Library program that allows their card holders to check out free admission passes.

The museum’s First Sunday program offered free admission on the first Sunday of the month, when the museum was open from 1 to 5 p.m.

“The Sunday program was good, but for only one day of the week, and a half-day at that,” said Charlie Walter, director of the Mayborn Museum.

Turnout on those Sundays was solid, but Mayborn officials felt they needed to look at other options of reaching a broader segment of the community, he said.

A new Mayborn Reach Out program covers three of those options and goes into effect Oct. 1.

  • Community Days: Free admission for all on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in January; the Mayborn’s birthday, May 19; and next year’s national Museum Live Day, Sept. 24, 2018.
  • Museums For All: Low-income families can use an electronic benefits transfer card to get discounted admission. Card holders can show their EBT card to get admission for $1 each for two adults and each child. Regular museum admission is $8 for adults, $7 for senior adults and $6 for children 2 to 12 years old.
  • Borrow A Membership: Those with library cards from the Waco-McLennan County Library and the Hewitt Library can check out time-sensitive museum admission passes on their library card like they do with a book or other library materials. A Mayborn Museum pass is good for two adults and up to four children and must be used within a week of checking out, with no renewal.

The latter is part of a broader program that the libraries have with Waco museums. Hewitt Library card holders can check out admission passes for the Mayborn Museum and the Dr Pepper Museum while the Waco-McLennan County library has check-out passes for Cameron Park Zoo, the Texas Ranger Hall Of Fame and Museum, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and the Waco Mammoth National Monument.

Waco-McLennan County Library director Essy Day, who’s worked with area museums on participation in the program, said museums provide the passes free of charge to the library and with restrictions or requirements set by the participating museum.

Patrons can check out a pass on a first-come, first-served basis — no reservations allowed — according to the availability of the passes at the library. Each of the four Waco-McLennan County library branches have three Mayborn Museum passes to check out, for instance, but only one Cameron Park Zoo pass.

The Dr Pepper Museum pass covers up to six admissions while the remaining museum passes allow admission for up to two adults and two children. Those using the passes have to check them out at the libraries and turn them in at the museum they visit; the museums then return them to the libraries.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for local residents to go to local museums,” Day said.

Tribune-Herald entertainment editor