Throughout this summer, as it has in recent years, the Museum of Modern Art in New York has been remaining open until 9 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Today it shared the beautiful news that it will keep those extended hours for Friday and Saturday through the end of 2017, marking a shift from its typical practice of reverting to standard hours after Labor Day, when it is open only until 8 p.m. on Fridays and 5:30 p.m. (its standard closing time) on Saturdays. These new hours align with those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which regularly remains open until 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
It should be noted, then, that the hours of free admission at MoMA will be 4 to 9 p.m. on Fridays through the final Friday of this year, December 29.
Many museums in the United States lag painfully behind their international peers in offering evening hours. To name a couple of generous examples, the Palais de Tokyo in Paris is open until midnight six nights a week and the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo is open until 10 p.m. six nights a week (and 5 p.m. on the other day).
But hey, 9 p.m. is better than 8 p.m., and I for one plan to savor that extra hour quite regularly, particularly on the dark, cold, sad nights of winter in New York, when the glow of art in a museum can feel especially invigorating.
In closing, I want to mention that the Whitney Museum is open until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and that the Brooklyn Museum is open every Thursday until 10 p.m. and stays open until 11 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month.
Update, August 16: This post has been corrected to note that the Whitney Museum stays open until 10 p.m. twice a week.