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Culture at no charge on Museum Day

"A lot of museums have an atmosphere of, you come in, you see, you leave," she said. At the Schenectady Museum, the attitude is, "You come in, you see, you do and you leave."

The Children's Museum at Saratoga also encourages activity. "We are completely hands-on, imaginative play," said executive director Michelle Smith.

Like Breslin, Smith said Museum Day is a good way to spread the word about the museum, which features a replica of a 1950s diner where kids can pretend to cook and serve food, along with an old-fashioned grocery store, post office and bank. There's also a bubble machine, where kids can be enveloped by a giant bubble.

"There isn't anything that kids can't touch, that they can't play with," said Smith, who noted the museum has seen an uptick in attendance on prior Museum Days. Admission normally is $6 per person.

A few miles away from the Children's Museum, Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa will also be taking part in Museum Day. Located in a hotel building dating to 1972, Brookside features pictures and documents that paint a picture of the history of Saratoga County. Admission is typically $2 for adults and $1.50 for seniors and children.

In Albany County, the USS Slater is taking part in Museum Day. Moored in the Port of Albany, the USS Slater is the only World War II-era destroyer escort that remains afloat in the United States. Volunteers work year round on restoring the ship, which charges admission fees ranging from $5 to $7. Veterans often serve as tour guides for the ship, which has such historically accurate touches as real Morse code bring tapped out in the radar room and items donated by the actual World War II occupants on display in officers' cabins.

People can get another taste of history on Museum Day by visiting the Mabee Farm in Rotterdam Junction. The oldest standing home in the Mohawk Valley, the farm dates to 1705 and will be open for tours on Museum Day.

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