Boston Sights

Museum of Fine Arts

  • 465 Huntington Ave. Map It
  • The Fenway
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 07/13/2016

Fodor's Review

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.

Highlights

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.

Tips

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).

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Sight Information

Address:

465 Huntington Ave., Boston, Massachusetts, 02115, USA

Map It

Phone:

617-267–9300

Website: www.mfa.org

Sight Details:

  • $25 (good for 2 days in a 10-day period)
  • Sat.–Tues. 10–4:45, Wed.–Fri. 10–9:45. 1-hr tours daily; call for scheduled times

Published 07/13/2016

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Aug 14, 2017

Great Permanent Collection and Nice Rotating Exhibits

Great Permanent Collection and Nice Rotating Exhibits My spouse and I visited Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) on a Saturday afternoon in late May 2017. The museum is open daily from approximately 10:00 am until 5:00 pm, with extended hours until 10:00 pm on Wednesdays (including “Winedays” social event), Thursdays, and Fridays (including the monthly reoccurring “First Friday” cocktail party). Be sure to check their website for exact details.

Admission costs $25 per adult, but you can enjoy a repeat visit within 10 days. If you visit the neighboring Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (ISGM), you can save $2 on a combined admission. You are requested to check larger bags at the coat check counter. The over 600,000-square foot museum (founded in 1870) opened in its present Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood location in the early 1900s. The museum seems to occupy a series of interconnected buildings and wings (which makes navigating around a bit tricky). The museum collection is displayed in over 30 spacious, high-ceilinged galleries spread over four floors (including the basement). You can use either stairs or elevators to travel between the levels. Several dining options are available, including Bravo, American Café, Taste, and the Garden Cafeteria (listed in descending order from most formal/expensive to least). The expansive glass-enclosed courtyard hosts one of my favorite pieces in the museum, Dale Chihuly’s 42-foot-high lime green icicle tower. Another favorite space is the rotunda with colonnades and frescoes painted by John Singer Sargent. (We loved how the museum placed a mirror in the center of the first floor space so that you can view the reflected ceiling paintings without craning your neck - an interesting technique that we had not seen before!) The architecture of the museum itself is almost as interesting as the objects that hang inside it. The MFA's vast and varied collection of approximately 450,000 objects includes works by American painters (Homer, Sargent, Hopper, and Cassatt), Impressionists (Monet, Manet, Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh, Cezanne), sculptures, furniture, Egyptian artifacts, Asian art from Japan and China, African masks, Native American pottery, and contemporary art. At any one time, the museum offers many rotating temporary exhibitions by a variety of artists. When we visited, the current exhibitions featured Botticelli, Matisse, Robert McCloskey (of “Make Way for Duckings” fame), Polish ghetto photographs, and jewelry (including pieces by Tiffany, Cartier, and Bulgari). We enjoyed our visit to the Museum of Fine Arts – the building is beautiful, the permanent collection is excellent, and the rotating exhibitions are interesting.

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