The Big Exchange Promotion Kicks Off May 1

SAN DIEGO—Today, the San Diego Museum Council (SDMC) announced the return of the Big Exchange, an annual program that offers reciprocal membership to 35 arts and culture destinations in the region. This year’s program will be a span the entire month of May—in previous years it had been a two-week program.

The Big Exchange grants members of participating San Diego Museum Council institutions to complimentary general admission. The program provides museum members with the opportunity to visit an array of museums, gardens, and historic sites across the San Diego County. To receive free admission, members present their membership card at each participating museum’s visitor services desk.

“Museum membership has its benefits, and the Big Exchange program is definitely one of them,” said April Tellez, marketing chair of the San Diego Museum Council and public relations and social media manager of the San Diego Natural History Museum. “During the month of May, members of San Diego Museum Council institutions can experience the wonderful diversity of museums in the region at little to no cost. For museum buffs like me, there’s nothing better.”

San Diego has a rich and diverse arts and culture scene. Locals and visitors to the region can enjoy renowned art collections, historical documents, stunning photographs, spectacular scientific specimens, live animals, and much more.

The Big Exchange was a tremendous success in 2016 and is gaining more popularity among museum-goers in San Diego.

“A total of 8,170 museum members participated in the 2016 Big Exchange program, that’s a 123% increase from 2015,” said Theresa Kosen, executive director of the San Diego Museum Council. “When the 2016 program came to a close, we decided to extend the Big Exchange program for a full month to fit in with the San Diego Museum Council’s other two signature programs, Macy’s Museum Month and Kids Free in October. We are excited to see how this new structure performs.”

Participating Organizations: 

Barona Museum & Cultural Center San Diego Art Institute
Birch Aquarium at Scripps San Diego Automotive Museum
Bonita Museum San Diego Children's Discovery Museum
California Surf Museum San Diego Chinese Historical Museum
Coronado Museum of History & Art San Diego History Center
Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum San Diego Model Railroad Museum
Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House San Diego Natural History Museum (theNAT)
Heritage of the Americas Museum The New Children's Museum
Japanese Friendship Garden The San Diego Museum of Art
Living Coast Discovery Center Timken Museum of Art
Maritime Museum of San Diego USS Midway Museum
Mingei International Museum Veterans Museum at Balboa Park
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Visions Art Museum
Museum of Making Music Warner-Carrillo Ranch House Museum
Museum of Photographic Arts The Water Conservation Garden
New Americans Museum Whaley House Museum
Oceanside Museum of Art Women's Museum of California
San Diego Archaeological Center  
Each membership is reciprocal, per guest or membership status. Free admission does not include special upcharge exhibitions, films, or events. Balboa Park Explorer passholders are not included in this program. For more information, please visit

About the San Diego Museum Council

The San Diego Museum Council (SDMC) represents San Diego County’s museum community by increasing awareness, connecting, and providing services to the diverse museums within its members. With more than 40 unique arts and culture destinations as members, the SDMC presents three flagship annual promotions (the Big Exchange, Macy’s Museum Month, and Kids Free in October), while also offering additional community-oriented programs and events aimed at providing museum access. The San Diego Museum Council is located at 2750 Historic Decatur Rd., Studio 201, San Diego, CA 92106. For general inquiries, please call 619.276.0101 or visit Follow the San Diego Museum Council on Twitter and Instagram, and join the discussion on Facebook.

Media Contact
Theresa Kosen
Executive Director
San Diego Museum Council
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Lauren Forgione

San Diego Museum Council
Executive Director Theresa Kosen