Institute Of Contemporary Art
Next is a must-visit art museum in Boston, the Institute of Contemporary Art! When it was first founded, it was called the Boston Museum of Modern Art but has since changed its name. The mission has always stayed the same, though: educating and showcasing contemporary art to the masses.
Founded in 1936, this museum is filled with beautiful pieces of art. You could easily spend a few hours exploring.
Pro tip: to save yourself some money, consider visiting on Thursday nights for free admission between the hours of 5 and 9 p.m. There is also free family admission on the last Saturday of every month, so plan your trip accordingly!
Best Museums In Boston Ma To Visit For Every Occasion
Boston is definitely known for its museums. In fact, you could literally spend weeks touring all of the best museums in Boston because there are just so many!
From Boston art museums to history museums, science exhibits, and really specific niche museums, Boston has it all. Get ready to tour old wooden ships, attend contemporary artwork events, and learn about the middle class during the last few centuries.
While Boston is famous for the Tea Party , theres so much more that you should consider checking out.
Here are my favorite 13 museums in Boston that you really shouldnt miss! Theres definitely something on this list for everyone regardless of your interests, because Boston has it all.
The Museum Of Fine Arts
Since its inauguration in 1870, the Museum of Fine Arts has remained a well-renowned place for its Impressionist paintings, Asian and Egyptian collections, and early American Art.
The MFA has a variety of art displays including paintings by Gauguin, Degas, Van Gogh, Monet, and even a few Picasso pieces. Youll be amazed to see Day and Night, a realistic baby head created by painter and sculptor Antonio Lopez Garcia.
Along with many amazing paintings, the MFA offers visitors the chance to enjoy artifacts from around the world including the Arts of Africa, Oceania, Nubia, Greece, Rome, and even contemporary pieces.
You could spend hours exploring the works of art on display which totals more than 500,000 pieces! At this famous Boston museum, you can check out more than 100 galleries total.
More than 1 million visitors each year flock to the MFA, one of the best museums in Boston, to see special exhibitions and innovative educational programs.
The museum is divided up into different sections, so you can easily explore European, American, Egyptian, and other types of art based on what youre looking for. This museum is massive, so its better to come with a map to navigate wisely around this Boston MA museum.
If you have a chance, I highly recommend that you check out the MFA. This is a great spot for anyone who loves art or even those interested in culture and history!
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Clark Institute Williamstown Ma
Williamstown is one of the best places to visit in the Berkshires. The town is home to the vaunted Clark Art Institute. Its one of the United States best museums, focusing on historic European and American art.
The museum is unique in that it seeks to be both an art museum and a center of learning to expand public appreciation of art.
The museum has been fully renovated and expanded in a mix of architectural styles, with an elegant new pavilion designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Tadao Ando.
The redo aims for grand scale intimacy. The museum was aiming to be the Berkshires Bilbao.
- Rodins Eternal Spring
- DegasLittle Dancer Aged 14
The Clark Institute looks nothing like the Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. But it does have a wow factor.
The museum is home to some beautiful works by American artist Winslow Homer like Undertow and Two Guides.
It also has a world class collection of French Impressionist paintings and some lovely British art by the likes of Sargent, Constable, and Turner.
Look for DegasSelf Portrait and Dancers in the Classroom, Morisots The Bath, and Monets Tulip Fields. One of my favorite pieces is Gilbert Stuarts George Washington.
The Clark Institute is located on a 140 acre compound. It has well marked hiking trails for year round exploration.
Museum Of Fine Arts Boston Ma
The Boston Museum of Fine Arts is an absolute world class museum. It can be daunting to visit because its so massive.
Established in 1870, the MFA is the fourth largest museum in the United States. The museum is housed in a Beaux Art building. The museum was later expanded by architect I.M. Pei.
- Van Gogh painting
- Monet painting
The collection has everything from Egyptian mummies to minimalist Mondrians. The museums collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist work is among the worlds finest, second in the United States only to Philadelphias Barnes Foundation.
Some of the must see masterpieces in the museum include Van Goghs Postman Joseph Roulin, Monets Poppy Field in a Hollow Near Giverny, Goyas Seated Giant, and Rembrandts Portrait of a 62 Year Old Woman.
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Crane Museum Of Papermaking
Fun fact: Americas oldest paper company was founded in Massachusetts. In 1801, a man named Zenas Crane opened his papermaking company, Crane & Co., in the Berkshires. His Dalton mill along the Housatonic River eventually picked up a pretty good gig: making paper for printing U.S. currency. Since 1879, the company has used its rag-based paper to make money, and continues to this day. The Crane Museum of Papermaking now operates in what used to be the rag room in Cranes Old Stone Millits the last remaining building of the original 1844 complex. Inside, find exhibits that unfold the history of papermaking through a collection of Crane watermarks and papers.
40 Pioneer St., Dalton, berkshires.org.
via Flickr/Creative Commons
Yale Center For British Art New Haven Co
The Yale Center for British Art is another fantastic New England museum. Its located in a building designed by architect Louis Kahn. The centers collections were the gift of Paul Mellon.
The museum has a cool layout. Galleries are built around two open atriums.
The museum houses the largest collection of British art in the United States. There are 2500 art works, spanning the 15th century to the present. And its free to visit.
The museum was renovated in 2016 by Louis Kahn. There were plenty of technological improvements.
But the building was left remarkably intact. Much of the art is displayed salon style, hung floor to ceiling, as it wouldve been in 19th century exhibitions.
Many of the museums works are concentrated in the period from 1697 to 1851. These years correspond to the Georgian period of British history.
Youll find a cavalcade of amazing art by the likes of Turner, Hogarth, Gainsborough, Constable, Reynolds, and George Stubbs.
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Guide To The Best Museums In New England
courtyard of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston
Are you a culture vulture planning a trip in New England? Heres my guide to the best museums in New England and where to find them.
New England has a superb art scene. It punches well above its cultural weight for such a tiny region of the United States.
New England is home to a staggering number of top tier art museums. They range from intimate house-museums to expansive university collections.
Theres something for everyones art taste from antiquities to old masters to cutting edge contemporary art.
Make sure to add these must visit art museums to your to itinerary or art bucket list for New England.
International Museum Of World War Ii
A comprehensive collection of all things World War II-related is just a quick drive down the Mass Pike. Naticks International Museum of World War II was founded and is operated by Kenneth Rendell, an appraiser and dealer of historical documents. His museum is meant to give people a sense of direct contact with the World War II generation, he explains, through original artifacts and memorabilia. The museums 7,000 objects, 500,000 documentsincluding letters, diaries, pamphlets, magazines, and photographs3,500 posters, and 7,500 books make for an astounding collection. Highlights include six Enigmas , an original copy of the Versailles Treaty of 1919, and a letter written by Dwight Eisenhower to his wife on D-Day.
8 Mercer Rd., Natick, museumofworldwarii.org.
by the Mass. Office of Travel and Tourism on Flickr/Creative Commons
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Best Art Collector’s Personal Museum: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
After an inheritance allowed Isabella Stewart Gardner to amp up her passion for collecting art, she and her husband Jack ran out of display space in their Beacon Street home and decided to build an art museum with living quarters for their own use. They spent the summer of 1897 in their favorite Italian cities collecting columns, statues, windows, and other decorative details from Roman, Byzantine, Gothic, and Renaissance periods for it, and shipped them home to Boston.
Jack died unexpectedly in 1898, but Isabella forged forward with their plans and directed every detail with the work in a hands-on way. By 1902, she installed the art.
The result? A surprisingly harmonious and stunningly beautiful creation resembling a 15th century Venetian palazzo with a spectacular interior courtyard and wonderful art to diverse to describe.
If you have any interest in art or design, a visit to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a must!
Free admission if your name is Isabella. Free admission on your birthday.
25 Evans Way, Fenway neighborhood 617-566-1401 www.gardnermuseum.org
Best Live Exhibit Museum: The New England Aquarium
Maybe you don’t normally think of The New England Aquarium as a museum, but think of it this way: it brings together collections of a variety of species related to a particular topic – marine life – and immerses you in ways both entertaining and educational. As a bonus, so to speak, everything you look at here is alive and displayed in its natural habitat.
located on Boston’s downtown waterfront immerses you in another world where you can experience a giant coral reef and its colorful tropical fish, laugh at playful penguins, and can even meet and greet seals and sea lions on behind-the-scenes tours.
Designed to appeal to all ages, the aquarium is one of Boston’s very top attractions for visitors as well as locals. It’s the perfect place to visit on less-optimal weather days, and even better when the sun is shining and you can enjoy its expansive views of Boston Harbor.
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Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Just a short walk from the Museum of Fine Arts is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum! This is a more miniature museum that is often overlooked by tourists but is truly loved by locals. The museum has beautiful art from all over the world and even has a peaceful garden that you can sit in.
It was also the very museum involved in the 1990 museum heist in Boston! Someone stole tons of art pieces from the museum, and the case, still, to this day, hasnt been solved. Its crazy, but its fun to visit the museum and see what all the hype is about.
The Museum Of Science
This Boston museum was established in 1830 and has been a charmer for tourists and locals alike ever since. It covers an area of 130,000-square-foot and spans the length of the Charles River, connecting up-and-coming East Cambridge to Bostons West End.
The Museum of Science offers spectators almost 700 engaging exhibits, shows at the Charles Hayden Planetarium and Mugar Omni Theater and last but not least live presentations.
There are several sections inside the museum focusing on different areas of science such as humans/biology/history, food, electricity, dinosaurs, and so on. This amazing Boston museum is committed to putting forward an interactive and scientific experience by making science convenient through exhibitions and practical activities.
There is also an excellent show of engines and railroad locomotives and some mind-blowing examples of past technology, as well as current scientific innovations by Boston researchers. Both kids and adults are sure to love the different exhibits at one of the best museums in Boston!
The Museum of Science provides a great science overview for a range of topics. I really love the astronomy section with details about traveling to the moon and exploring science through light and color. Theres a model area showing our solar system and some really great shows in the Omni theater on space.
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Keep Your Weekends Full Of The Coolest Things To Do Around Boston With Our Weekly Weekender Newsletter
Gardner Museum photo by Lloyd Mallison, JFK Library by Maciek Lulko on Flickr/Creative Commons, MFA photo by Tessa Yannone
Its no secret that Boston is a scholarly town. Weve got top-notch universities, prestigious art collections, unrivaled ties to American history, and a long list of dynamic museums where you can learn about it all. For both longtime residents and travelers passing through, theres plenty to be learned in the 60+ museums that span the citythe hardest part is choosing which ones to visit. Thats where we come in. Whether youre into German expressionism, maritime history, the life cycle of the lobster, or taxation without representation, heres your guide to Bostons must-see museums.
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum Of Art Hartford Cn
The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is a small, but great, museum in Hartford. Its one of the best museums in New England and one of the oldest museums in the United States. Wadsworth opened its doors in 1844.
The Wadsworth Atheneum is comprised of five connected buildings. The first was the castle like structure you see in the photo above, complete with crenellated battlements.
In 1907, J. Pierpont J.P. Morgan, a Gilded Age banking tycoon, built the Junius Spencer Morgan Memorial in his fathers honor. He also gifted the museum the bulk of its collection.
The Wadsworth Atheneum has grown to a collection of over 50,000 works of art from over 5,000 years. There are significant works of modern and contemporary art.
In particular, the museum has Kehinde Wileys 2016 Portrait of Toks Adewetan . Wiley was the genius behind the 2018 portrait of Barack Obama, which hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.
The museum underwent a significant renovation in 2015. The two floor Great Hall is now beautiful and imposing.
It creates a big bang type impression. Situated at the entrance to the Great Hall is a dramatic wall installation by Sol LeWitt, Whirls and Twirls.
The Great Hall is painted dark blue. Some 95 paintings hang there, salon style.
The Wadsworth houses a noted collection of European art, with an emphasis on Baroque painting.
Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy
Museum Of African And American History
Located at the end of a quiet street in Beacon Hill, The Museum of African American History is Bostons largest institution of its kind dedicated to sharing stories, conserving the rich legacy, and interpreting the contributions of African Americans.
This museum has preserved two historic buildings, both with strong legacies, and two Black Heritage Trails.
The two historic structures include an African Meeting House built in 1806 and the Abiel Smith School, constructed in 1834.
The African meeting house is the oldest church building in-country still standing today, which had served as Black Faneuil Hall. The adjacent Abiel Smith School was the nations oldest public school for African American children. Today, this schools galleries showcase rotating exhibits on its upper floors and a museum store open year-round.
These are both incredible buildings with a ton of history! These buildings provide insight into the life and work of the African American community who lived during the 19th century and who propelled the abolitionist and civil rights movements forward.
Visitors can come and get inspired by authentic stories of New Englanders of African descent. The museum is well preserved and the tour of this excellent building is really unforgettable.
Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum
All aboard this restored 1896 trolley car in Shelburne Falls. Back in the day, it ran to Colrain and back as part of the Colrain Street Railway, but now, the little yellow trolley takes much shorter rides. Though its open as a museum, car number 10 is also still in operation, making it one of the oldest operating trolley cars in the country. Visitors can enjoy a short ride up and down the tracks, then try their hand at maneuvering an antique pump car. Also, please enjoy the museums blinding yellow website.
14 Depot St., Shelburne Falls, sftm.org.
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Best Museums In Boston Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the best places in New England to travel if youre looking to visit museums and educate yourself while traveling. Luckily, all of the best museums in Boston are included in this post to help you with planning your next Boston itinerary.
From museums that are solely based on science to even crazy, quirky ones that are focused on plumbing, Boston has it all. No matter your interests, youll be able to find a museum on this list for you to visit during your next trip to Boston.
Without further ado, here are all of the best museums in Boston!
Th Century: Paul Revere House
Built in 1677-1680,Paul Revere House in the North End was almost 100 years old when the prominent silversmith and Sons of Liberty member moved there with his wife and their large family in 1770. This is the only house museum on the Freedom Trail.
The Tudor-style dwelling is the oldest house in central Boston, and you can still see some of Revere’s furniture, pieces of silver, and other household items. One room is furnished in a late 17th century style.
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