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Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Visiting Boston without seeing its museums is like not having been there...and one you can't miss is the Museum of Fine Arts. Book a visit to this space to take a first look at the treasures hidden here.

Laura Gómez

Laura Gómez

10 min read

Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston | ©Taigatrommelchen

The city of Boston has plenty of attractions for tourists. One highly recommended is the Museum of Fine Arts, which houses some of the most extensive and detailed collections of art from all over the world.

From ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia to contemporary art, this museum does not miss a chapter of art history. On your next visit to Boston, be sure to stop by this extraordinary museum for an unparalleled cultural experience.

How much do tickets to the Museum of Fine Arts cost?

Sculpture and exterior of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston| ©Nektarios Karefyllakis
Sculpture and exterior of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston| ©Nektarios Karefyllakis

Tickets to this museum have an average price of.....

  • 26 euros: (adults)
  • 10 euros: (children and young people between 7 and 17 years)
  • Free: for children from 0 to 6 years old. Massachusetts residents are also entitled to free admission on certain holidays throughout the year.

Special exhibits cost approximately €7 in addition to the general admission price (a general admission ticket is required to enter a special exhibit).

How to get tickets for the Museum of Fine Arts at the box office

Inside the Museum of Fine Arts| ©taigatrommelchen
Inside the Museum of Fine Arts| ©taigatrommelchen

You can purchase tickets directly at the box office at the main entrance of the museum, but keep in mind that tickets at the box office are subject to availability, and if they are sold out, you will have to say goodbye to your visit to the museum...at least for that day.

To avoid surprises, I recommend you make your purchase in advance, either on their website or by phone at 1-800-440-6975 (the latter, with an additional fee of approximately 6 euros for processing).

General admission does not include admission to special exhibitions, so if you want to enter any, you must include these tickets in your reservation. Note! The special exhibitions have fixed schedules that you should check before booking.

Are tickets to the Museum of Fine Arts included in any of the city's tourist passes?

Go Boston Pass| ©Klook
Go Boston Pass| ©Klook

Yes, the Go Boston Card is an option. When you purchase this tourist card, you get free admission to the Museum of Fine Arts and its special exhibits.

In addition, this card includes admission to nearly 30 other attractions throughout the city, such as the Boston Aquarium, Franklin Park Zoo and the Peabody Essex Museum.

Buy your Go Boston Card

Are there special children's tickets?

Touring the Museum| ©taigatrommelchen
Touring the Museum| ©taigatrommelchen

Yes. Admission to the museum's general exhibits costs approximately 10 euros for children and youth ages 7 to 17... and for the youngest children (0 to 6 years old), admission is free.

Are there guided tours for the Museum of Fine Arts, is it worth it?

Entering the Museum with the Guide| ©taigatrommelchen
Entering the Museum with the Guide| ©taigatrommelchen

Inside the museum there are guided visits and tours that are regularly scheduled and free of charge (unless they specify otherwise). I recommend you check their website for available options.

Are they worth it? I would say yes. In such a large museum and with limited time in the city, it is always useful to have someone to guide you. As I said, these tours are usually free of charge, plus you can join the group whenever you want. Why not give it a try?

Also, the museum has made a great effort to use technology to reach more people. It has developed an application for cell phones where you can take tours on your own, accompanied by an audio description of the history and some other curiosity behind each piece.

At the moment it is only in English, but regardless of your language level, I recommend you install it because the maps and tours it includes can be very useful.

And continuing with its technological incursion, the museum offers other forms of tours on the other side of the screen, including demonstrations of musical instruments, conversations with art curators, courses and other digital resources.

How to get to the Museum of Fine Arts

Boston Metro| ©Nicolas Vigier
Boston Metro| ©Nicolas Vigier

One of the most convenient ways to get to the Museum of Fine Arts is to take the subway or bus. Here are the lines and stations:

  • Subway: If you take the Green Line E, get off at the Museum of Fine Arts station, which is a few steps from the main entrance to the museum. You can also get there by taking the Orange Line and get off at the Ruggles station. This stop is less than four blocks from the museum.
  • Bus: You can take the 39 to Huntington Avenue to the Ruggles Street or Louis Prang Street stops. Another option is the 8, 19, 47 and CT2 to the Huntington Avenue stop on Ruggles Street. Any of these stations is less than two blocks away from the museum.

Major works not to be missed at the Museum of Fine Arts

Egyptian Section of the Museum| ©Hans Ollermann
Egyptian Section of the Museum| ©Hans Ollermann

The various galleries of the Museum of Fine Arts are grouped into general departments according to the region of origin of the art on display. I tell you more about some "gems" that I recommend and you should not miss from each of these regions.

Ancient Egypt, Nubia and Near East

In the Ancient Egypt, Nubia and Near East section you will find one of the most outstanding exhibits in the museum and one that fascinates especially the little ones: the Egyptian mummies. Five very well preserved and detailed coffins located in one of the first galleries of the museum, an incredible welcome, don't you think?

Mummies and more than 60,000 other objects dedicated only to this culture of the Nile. Sculpture, jewelry, weapons...I'm telling you straight: this museum houses the largest collection of Ancient Egyptian art outside of Cairo.

Although to a lesser extent, here you'll also find art belonging to the coveted Nubia and Near East (Mesopotamia, Persia, Anatolia, etc.). And you're just getting started.

Ancient Greece and Rome

Older cultures also extend to the museum's second floor, such as the Ancient Greek and Roman art department , which spans from the Bronze Age to early Byzantine.

Get ready for another huge collection, featuring coins, sculptures, gems and portraits. You can take a closer look at one of the most visited spaces in this department here.

Africa and Oceania

What about the Africa and Oceania art department ? Works from the 16th to the 21st centuries spanning these fascinating continents are on display here. In this link you can take a look at the highlights that await you here, on the second floor of the building.

Asia

Around 15,000 objects from China, Korea, Japan, South and Southeast Asia and the Islamic world are on display in the Art of Asia. From huge Buddhist sculptures and fine ceramics from the Tang or Song dynasty, paintings, calligraphy, ritual objects and even a stone gate can be found here.

Europe

European art is the most represented among the icons of the Museum of Fine Arts. Artists such as Rembrandt, Monet, Gauguin, Degas, Van Gogh are represented here. What more could you ask for so far?

America

Coming to the New World...the art department of America. On virtually every level of the museum, you'll find spaces dedicated to this huge continent. The collection includes a large number of objects from the ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica to modern art born in metropolises like New York or Mexico City.

By the historical line they cover, these works show different contexts such as war, migration, politics and cultural exchange, freedom, slavery...a collection as diverse as America itself. Check out some outstanding examples in Native American art at this link or this one, for pictorial works, with John Singer Sargent, Jackson Pollock and Frida Kahlo among some exponents.

Contemporary Art

And finally, although it does not have to do precisely with geographical regions**: Contemporary art**. As you already know, it is the art of our time, which has been created since the mid-twentieth century and is as diverse and changing as the times. They are galleries that are constantly growing and updating...you must find some surprises.

Definitely, there is a lot of information in this museum. But with what I summarize here and with a map in hand, you can get an idea of the route of the exhibits and in which to spend more or less time.

How much time do you need to visit the Museum of Fine Arts?

Art of the Museum| ©Moe Homayounieh
Art of the Museum| ©Moe Homayounieh

The Museum of Fine Arts, like other huge museums of its kind, is not designed to be seen in a day...much less in a few hours.

For this reason, if you have the chance, many choose to visit it on several occasions (and even then, you will always have something to see). This, of course, will also depend on your own energy, not so much because of how much you walk around, but because it is too much information to process.

Don't worry! A short visit can always be rewarding and wonderful, and it is very common among visitors as well. If you set aside at least 4 hours for your visit, it will be perfect. Besides, you will always have a reason to come back to the city... or not?

Opening hours of the Museum of Fine Arts

Works in the Museum| ©Moe Homayounieh
Works in the Museum| ©Moe Homayounieh

The Museum of Fine Arts is open 5 days a week: Thursday to Monday. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays it remains closed.

The opening time is at 10 am and closes at 5 pm except on Fridays, when it closes until 10 pm. Last access is allowed 30 minutes before closing.Holidays closed: January 1, April 18, July 4, November 24 and December 25.

Tips for visiting the Museum of Fine Arts

Sculptures at the Museum| ©Moe Homayounieh
Sculptures at the Museum| ©Moe Homayounieh

More than a tip, the following is a museum requirement. The museum has codes of conduct and dress that must be followed by all visitors and that you have probably already seen in many other museums. You can see them here but here are a few:

  • Covered clothing, not provocative.
  • Do not use your cell phone for telephone conversations.
  • No flash photography and no equipment such as tripods and selfie sticks.
  • No eating and drinking inside the galleries.
  • No smoking, running, shouting... I don't think I need to say them one by one.

And, for visitors especially with children:

  • No carrying children on the shoulder, back or in baby carriers.
  • Parents and caregivers are requested to maintain vigilance and good behavior of their children. Although there are for this purpose, this is not a "touching" museum.
  • It is recommended that you bring a special plan to visit in the company of your little ones. For example, play games to give clues (colors, size, shapes, elements) and see who can guess an object chosen from an exhibit. Creativity can lead them to try to imitate the poses or gestures of sculptures and portraits, or wonder what those characters were thinking or feeling. At the museum, you'll also have help...just look for the "For families" labels in spaces like the Shapiro Family Courtyard with tips for children to better connect with art. With a little creativity and imagination, you can have a more enjoyable time with the kids.
  • I suggest arriving at the museum first thing in the morning. This time is usually the least crowded and can be enjoyed more quietly. Another advantage of being punctual is that, not until you are there, you will know how much time you need for your tour in the museum. I mean, maybe you estimated 4 hours for your visit, but then you realize that you need more and if it is already closing time, you will have no choice but to leave with your inspiration cut off.
  • And as a last recommendation, the one I always give in monumental museums like this one: check before on their website the available exhibits and possible routes along with a general review of the map of the building. It will help you a lot!

This is the store of the Museum of Fine Arts

Spectacular Cupola of the Museum| ©Greg DuBois
Spectacular Cupola of the Museum| ©Greg DuBois

In this museum, there are not one but three stores of all sorts of little things that look like just another exhibit. And that's not counting the museum's online store which you can see here. In this store, I especially recommend the prints on demand...

In these stores you will find lots of art books, photography, music, architecture and children's books. Also, decorative objects, jewelry and fashion accessories, prints and toys. Set aside an hour or two to stroll through these stores and take something unique from this museum home with you.

Where to eat near the Museum of Fine Arts

Outside Audubon Boston| ©Mike Sanders
Outside Audubon Boston| ©Mike Sanders

Inside the museum there are several dining options, from a snack in a hurry, to more elaborate dishes for all tastes and budgets.

If these options don't quite convince you, or the food is a pretext to explore the surrounding area, here are some options located less than 1 km away:

There are many other options. In this link you can see more.