on February 12, 2007
The Museum of Fine Arts ("MFA") in Boston, founded in 1870, has the second largest museum collection in the Western hemisphere, after the Metropolitan Museum. You can pass a few hours in the MFA, viewing selection collections or one of the touring art shows that come here - or you could easily spend a whole day here, wandering through one fascinating gallery after another. You rarely have to loop back through a gallery unless you choose to. The MFA has many excellent collections, but its Japanese art is particularly noteworthy: it's the largest collection outside of Japan and includes ceramics, origami, kimonos, prints, statuary, furniture, and more, as well as a Japanese garden which is open from 10am to 4pm from spring through early fall. Other major sections of the museum include American, Indian, Greek, Egyptian, European, and Chinese. As well as being an incredibly popular destination, the MFA also supports an art school.With such a sizeable collection, my best recommendation is to pick a particular area of the museum that you want to focus on, and go from there. Yes, it would be possible to walk the entire museum in 2-3 hours, but you will not get to see as much - and there are all kinds of interesting items on display. Don't worry if you get lost - guards are available throughout the museum to help you.Currently, the MFA is undergoing a construction project which will greatly expand the museum's facilities, giving 28% more display space, as well as other functions. The Garden Court is being remade into a year-round usable space, and the new "American Wing" will primarily function as display space for their massive American art collection, as well as creating a much larger space for the Contemporary/Modern art collections.Can't make it to Boston in person? The MFA has much of its collection online at mfa.org, including the ability to take a virtual tour. You can even listen to samplings from their music collection.* * * *Getting there:Limited metered street parking; paid parking lots/garages within 1-2 blocks."T" (subway) lines: Green "E" line, Museum of Fine Arts stop (directly across the street). Adults $2/single ride; LinkPass $9 (day) or $15 (week).Hours: Wed. 10am-9:45pm / Thurs. & Fri. 10am-9:45pm (only West Wing/select galleries open after 4:45pm) / Sat.-Tue. 10am-4:45pm Closed New Year's Day (Jan. 1), Patriots' Day (3rd Monday in April), Independence Day (July 4), Thanksgiving (4th Thurs. in Nov.) and Christmas Day (Dec. 25).Ticket costs:Adults $15 Seniors/Students 18+ $13 Youths 7-17 $6.50*Youths 6 & under FREEAdmission includes 1 free repeat visit within 10 days. Special exhibitions ticketed separately. Wednesdays 4pm–9:45pm: General admission free.*Youths 7–17 are admitted free on weekdays after 3 pm, weekends, and on Public School holidays. Free tours and gallery talks available; audio tours extra ($5-7). Foreign-language Visitor Guides available in Chinese, German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Italian, and Russian.
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