04 Jan The National Comedy Center Announces Access Program for Low-Income Families
Jamestown, New York – January 4, 2023 – The National Comedy Center, the nation’s official cultural institution dedicated to the art of comedy, has announced its participation in Museums for All, a signature access program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), administered by the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), to encourage people of all backgrounds to visit museums regularly and build lifelong museum-going habits.
The National Comedy Center museum and the Center’s Lucy Desi Museum, celebrating the lives, careers and legacy of the “First Couple of Comedy” are both participating in the program, which is designed to increase the accessibility of high-quality museum learning resources. “The National Comedy Center is committed to welcoming all audiences as we showcase the art form of comedy and its unique voices in ways that educate, inspire and enlighten our visitors,” stated National Comedy Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson. “We are pleased to participate in the Museums for All program to broaden accessibility and inclusivity within our museums.”
The Museums for All program supports those receiving food assistance (SNAP) benefits, who can now visit the National Comedy Center and Lucy Desi Museum for a minimal fee of $2 dual admission, per person, for up to four people, with the presentation of a SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. Similar free and reduced admission is available to eligible members of the public at more than 1,000 museums across the country.
Museums for All is part of the non-profit National Comedy Center’s broad commitment to seek, include, and welcome all audiences to experience its museums in Lucille Ball’s hometown. Tickets may be purchased in advance at ComedyCenter.org, or by visiting the admissions desk at either the National Comedy Center or Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum.
Museums for All helps expand access to museums and also raises public awareness about how museums in the U.S. are reaching their entire communities. Participating institutions in the initiative include art museums, children’s museums, science centers, botanical gardens, zoos, history museums, and more, and are located nationwide, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
About the National Comedy Center
The National Comedy Center is the United States’ official cultural institution and museum dedicated to presenting the vital story of comedy and preserving its heritage for future generations, as formally designated by the U.S. Congress. Opened in 2018 in Jamestown, New York, the museum complex offers an unprecedented, immersive visitor experience using state-of-the-art technology, interactivity, and personalization.
USA Today named the National Comedy Center the “Best New Museum in the Country, TIME magazine named it one of its “World’s Greatest Places,” and U.S. News & World Report selected it as one of the “25 Top Family Weekend Getaways in the U.S.,” while Condé Nast Traveler called the National Comedy Center “one of the best museums in the country,” and People magazine named it one of “100 Reasons to Love America.”
The National Comedy Center has been featured in The New York Times, on CBS Saturday Morning, CBS Sunday Morning and on NBC’s TODAY Show, which called it “the Smithsonian of Comedy.” Visitors from all 50 states and eighteen countries have given the Center a rare 5/5 rating on TripAdvisor, ranking among the highest in the attraction and tourism industry.
Based on the vision of Jamestown native Lucille Ball for her hometown to become a destination for comedy, the non-profit National Comedy Center’s mission is to provide education on the comedic arts in the form of commentary and contextualization of its bodies of work across all eras and genres of the art form.
The National Comedy Center opened in 2018 and has collaborated with dozens of artists and estates to preserve materials that represent comedy’s significant artistic, social, and political contributions to American culture including collections illustrating the careers of legendary artists like George Carlin, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Carl Reiner, Betty White, Johnny Carson, Lenny Bruce, The Smothers Brothers, and the development of groundbreaking creative work such as sketch comedy series In Living Color, Saturday Night Live, and more. Two new exhibits opened this past summer – Johnny Carson: The Immersive Experience Hosted by Jimmy Fallon, a multi-screen theater presentation celebrating Johnny Carson’s 30 years hosting The Tonight Show 30 years later, and Carl Reiner: Keep Laughing, a multi-media, interactive exhibit that honors and celebrates Carl Reiner during his centennial year.
Within the Comedy Center’s museum galleries, more than 50 interactive exhibits and immersive experiences employ cutting-edge technology to present the story of comedy from its origins to the present day – using archival documents, artifacts, and media as their core. Its educational programming on the art form has featured George Lopez, Tiffany Haddish, Margaret Cho, Norman Lear, Debra Messing, Rain Pryor (daughter of Richard Pryor), Jay Leno, Kenan Thompson, Gabriel Iglesias, Ben Stiller, John Cleese, Jimmy Fallon, Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and many more.
The National Comedy Center operates the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, which explores the lives, careers and legacy of the “First Couple of Comedy” and the incredible impact they had on the world, as well as the pioneering role and remarkable influence that I Love Lucy and Desilu Studios had on the entertainment industry for generations to come.
The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, produced and presented by the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, NY has showcased comedy’s greatest stars and rising young comedians, including Jerry Seinfeld, Trevor Noah, Lily Tomlin, John Mulaney, Jay Leno, Amy Schumer, Sebastian, Maniscalco W. Kamau Bell, Jim Gaffigan, Paula Poundstone, Joan Rivers, and more than one hundred other comedic artists. This past summer, the 2022 festival featured Margaret Cho, Jeff Foxworthy, SNL alumni David Spade, Rob Schneider and Kevin Nealon, and over 50 live events.
The National Comedy Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural institution whose mission is funded by philanthropic support. Donations and grants support the museum and its work to present the vital story of comedy and preserve its heritage for future generations.
Stay connected to the National Comedy Center and Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum:
Websites: www.ComedyCenter.org | www.LucyDesi.com
Facebook: National Comedy Center | Facebook | Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum | Facebook
Twitter and Instagram: @ntlcomedycenter | @lucydesimuseum
About the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
About the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM)
The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) champions children’s museums worldwide. With more than 460 members in 50 states and 16 countries, ACM leverages the collective knowledge of children’s museums through convening, sharing, and dissemination. Learn more at www.childrensmuseums.org.