How to Become More Cultured for Less Money - America's Future Foundation

June 22, 2020


How to Become More Cultured for Less Money

By: Brenée Goforth

Without being able to enjoy wild nights at bars with your friends or wacky moments in the office with your coworkers, you might feel like your life is getting duller and duller. Luckily, you can use this time at home to enrich your life with knowledge of history, art, and culture. However, you don’t have to buy a ticket to New York’s Museum of Modern Art or purchase a gilt-edged copy of War and Peace to culture yourself. There are a number of completely free alternatives for you to take control and gain know-how on any given subject. 

1. Library Books and Audiobooks
It may sound like antiquated advice to tell you to visit the library, but it’s not. The library is more relevant than ever, providing far more services than when your parents were young. However, if you are looking for a book, the first place you should start should always be your library. With thousands of books to choose from, both physical and electronic, it’s difficult to believe you won’t be able to find the title you are looking for. You can even listen to books in the car or while you’re making dinner by renting audiobooks from the library.

2. Stream Classic Movies
To me, there is nothing more sophisticated than sitting down to watch a classic film featuring the likes of Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe, or Audrey Hepburn. Luckily, these films can often be streamed for free on platforms like Crackle. They can also be found on complementary library streaming services like Hoopla and Kanopy (I’m telling you, the library is more awesome than you think it is). If you are willing to go the extra mile, you can download a browser (like Opera – for free) with a built-in VPN and access free films on websites like simply by changing your VPN location. 

3. Tour Your Local Museum
With states beginning to open up again, public services like parks and museums will open back up as well. Check the website of your area museums and find out when they are giving free tours. Before quarantine, I went on a guided tour at the North Carolina Museum of Art and learned all about Rodin and his wonderful art. Before that, the only work I knew of Rodin was The Thinker, but now I am familiar with his entire catalog of sculptures as well as the methods he used to create them. Not a fan of crowds? Museums often offer free audio tours on their websites for you to explore at your leisure. Even if your local museum is not opening soon, many museums have virtual tours of their collections on their websites. Sit down, pour yourself a glass of wine, and get your art on.

With all of our options limited due to the virus, there has never been a more perfect time to learn about art, history, and culture. While these subjects have often been considered a luxury of high society, they are actually things that can be learned and enjoyed completely free of charge if you are willing to take the time. With a little bit of entrepreneurial spirit, anyone can enjoy high-class entertainment for low-ball prices.