Museum of Fine Arts
Hours Entire museum Sun-Tues 10am-4:45pm, Wed 10am-9:45pm, Thurs-Fri 10am-5pm; West Wing only, Thurs-Fri 5-9:45pm
Address 465 Huntington Ave
Transportation T: Green Line E to Museum, or Orange Line to Ruggles
Prices Adults $15, students and seniors $13 when entire museum is open, or $13 and $11, respectively, when only West Wing is open. Children under 18 $5 on school days before 3pm, otherwise free. Admission good for 2 visits within 30 days. Voluntary contribution ($15 suggested) Wed 4-9:45pm. Surcharges may apply for special exhibitions. No admission fee for Museum Shop, library, restaurants, or auditoriums
Season Closed Jan 1, Patriots Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving, and Dec 25
One of the world's great art museums, the MFA works nonstop to become even more accessible and interesting. You're sure to find something entrancing in these magnificent collections. Every installation reflects a curatorial attitude that makes even those who go in with a feeling of obligation leave with a sense of discovery and wonder. That includes children, who can participate in a scavenger hunt, admire the mummies, or participate in family-friendly programs scheduled year-round (there are extra offerings during school vacations). The MFA is especially famous for its Impressionist paintings (including 43 Monets -- one of the largest collections outside of Paris), Asian and Old Kingdom Egyptian collections, classical art, Buddhist temple, and medieval sculpture and tapestries. There are also magnificent holdings of prints, photographs, furnishings, and decorative arts, including the finest collection of Paul Revere silver in the world. The museum is currently expanding its modern and contemporary art collections and rearranging some galleries in engaging groupings that display paintings and sculpture along with related decorative objects and furniture.
The works that you might find most familiar are paintings and sculpture by Americans and Europeans. Some favorites: Renoir's Dance at Bougival, van Gogh's Postman Joseph Roulin, Childe Hassam's Boston Common at Twilight, Gilbert Stuart's 1796 portrait of George Washington, John Singleton Copley's 1768 portrait of Paul Revere, a bronze casting of Edgar Degas's sculpture Little Dancer, John Singer Sargent's The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit, and Fitz Hugh Lane's Luminist masterpieces.
None of this comes cheap: The MFA's adult admission fee (which covers two visits within 30 days) is among the highest in the country. A Boston CityPass is a great deal if you plan to visit enough of the other included attractions.
To begin your visit at the museum, pick up a floor plan at the information desk, or take a free guided tour (weekdays except Mon holidays at 10:30am and 1:30pm, with an additional tour on Wed at 6:15pm, and Sat at 10:30am and 1pm). The I. M. Pei-designed West Wing (1981) contains the main entrance, an auditorium, and an atrium with a tree-lined "sidewalk" cafe. There is also a restaurant and a cafeteria. The excellent Museum Shop carries abundant souvenirs and a huge book selection.
Special exhibitions during the lifespan of this book include Art Deco 1910-1939 (Aug 22, 2004-Jan 9, 2005); Speed, Style and Beauty: Cars from the Ralph Lauren Collection (Mar 6-July 3, 2005); The Quilts of Gee's Bend (June 1-Aug 21, 2005); and Tiffany Jewels (Sept 18-Dec 31, 2005).
The museum is currently expanding: construction of the new East Wing, designed by Norman Foster, began in early 2004. While work proceeds, the museum is rearranging some collections and closing some exhibition spaces, so check ahead before visiting if you have your heart set on seeing a particular piece of art.
MFA FYI--The Huntington Avenue entrance to the Museum of Fine Arts is usually much less busy than the West Wing lobby. Walk back along Huntington Avenue when you leave the T, enter from the curved driveway, and stop to take in the John Singer Sargent murals.