Six cultural institutions in Philly are honoring hospital workers this week

Outer Walls of Historic Eastern State Penitentiary
Getty Images

National Hospital Week is here, and if there has ever been a year to honor frontline workers, it’s 2021. To commemorate those who helped Philly and beyond through the pandemic, popular city institutions are giving back. 

This week, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Barnes Foundation, Eastern State Penitentiary, the Franklin Institute, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), and the Philadelphia Museum of Art jointly announced Free Admission Days for Hospital Workers. The American Hospital Association says that National Hospital Week is “an opportunity to highlight our hospitals, health systems and health care workers and the innovative ways they are supporting the needs of their community members, especially during this pandemic.” 

The City of Brotherly Love has decided to highlight this idea tenfold through fun, safe and very Philly ways. This specific initiative is here to offer free days of admission, while also adhering to vigilant health and safety protocols. 

A joint statement from all of the cultural leaders reads: “We are so grateful to the healthcare heroes who have worked—and continue to work—tirelessly on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, risking their lives to help others. We thank and honor them the best way we know how: offering up our galleries and exhibits as a respite from the stress and anxiety of this harrowing year. We hope that our institutions will provide a sense of rejuvenation to our region’s dedicated hospital workers as they continue their critical work throughout this global health crisis.”


The Franklin Institute. Provided

First up is the Franklin Institute, offering free admission to hospital workers and up to three guests from May 5 to 16 in partnership with T-Mobile. To redeem, reservations are required and can be made online at the FI’s official website and your hospital ID must be presented at the door. The Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University is also following a similar suit offering free admission for up to three guests as long as you present your ID at the door for entry. The reservations at the Logan Square establishment are also on a timed basis, and to register, visit This offer is available from May 6 to 9 and May 13 to 16. 

The Eastern State Penitentiary is offering free admission for hospital workers plus one guest on May 12. No reservations are required. As a special bonus, the ESP has also started their new summer programming with their Twilight Tours that take place at nighttime. Visitors will be invited to explore the historic cellblocks as the sun goes down: Admission will include all of Eastern State’s daytime programming including the self-guided audio tour narrated by actor Steve Buscemi, award-winning exhibits, and popular points of interest such as Al Capone’s cell and death row. Visitors can also experience the all-new Fair Chance Beer Garden presented by Eastern State Penitentiary and Triple Bottom Brewing Company after the fact. 

On Thursday, May 13, from noon to 7 p.m., hospital workers can indulge in everything The Barnes has to offer—with the added benefit of having the whole place to themselves. The public will not be allowed in on this date during the allotted time, and those using the free admission can make a reservation by calling 215-278-7200 and can also bring a guest. 

The Philadelphia Museum of Art and Rodin Museum will be offering their free admission for hospital workers and up to four guests from May 14 to 17, and reservations can be made but are not required. Lastly, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts on May 20 to May 23 will be offering free admission for workers and their guests through reservations by emailing [email protected] 

Rodin Museum


More from our Sister Sites