It was a sunny May day yesterday, perfect weather to wrap up a long weekend.

Yet residents and visitors alike headed indoors in droves — to take in treasures from around the world and admire art and artifacts, all for free.

Thousands of people celebrated International Museums Day in Ottawa by heading to the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Canadian War Museum, the Canada Science and Technology Museum and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography for a free admission day.

The Canadian Museum of Nature offered free admission on Sunday.

Percita Auguste was so excited about the event that she not only took her daughter, Charran, 8, to the National Gallery of Canada, but “told everyone I could that it was free today.

“It’s such a good idea,” she said. “Coming from a Third World country, this is a blessing. We have to make sure we take advantage of this.”

The gallery saw a record number of attendees yesterday, said gallery event co-ordinator and educator Andrea Gumpert.

“We anticipate 2,500 or more,” she said. “It’s a record year.

“This offers people a chance to see what there is in their own city, and see if there is anything that interests them,” she said. “We hope they will come back to learn more.”

While the event has something for everyone, it’s especially good for kids — “it gets them to love arts and artists,” Gumpert said.