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Count on staying a while if you have any hope of seeing what's here. Eclecticism and thoroughness, often an incompatible pair, have coexisted agreeably at the MFA since its earliest days. From Renaissance and baroque masters to Impressionist marvels, African masks and sublime samples of Native American pottery to contemporary crafts, the collections are happily shorn of both cultural snobbery and shortsighted trendiness.
The MFA's collection of approximately 450,000 objects was built from a core of paintings and sculpture from the Boston Athenaeum, historical portraits from the city of Boston, and donations by area universities. The MFA has more than 70 works by John Singleton Copley; major paintings by Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Fitz Henry Lane, and Edward Hopper; and a wealth of American works ranging from native New England folk art and Colonial portraiture to New York abstract expressionism of the 1950s and 1960s.
More than 30 galleries
contain the MFA's European painting and sculpture collection, dating from the 11th century to the 20th. Contemporary art has a dynamic home in the MFA's dramatic I. M. Pei–designed building.
The year-round cocktail party "MFA First Fridays," from 6 to 9:30—held monthly—has become quite the social event. Stop by to admire the art in a festive atmosphere.
A fun midweek event called "Winedays," held on the last Wednesday of the month from 5:30 to 7:30, is offered February through October, when you can sample wine and snacks for $25.
The museum requires you to check any bag larger than 11 inches by 15 inches (even purses).