Bostonians are passionate about their art and at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) you’ll bump into locals as well as tourists. This is one of the world’s great museums, boasting the largest collection of Japanese art outside of Japan. It also has one of the largest collections of Monet's work outside of France.
As you approach the MFA’s south entrance, you’ll be greeted by Appeal to the Great Spirit, a bronze statue of a Native American on horseback with his arms outstretched. This statue could easily be mistaken as a reference to the size of the MFA; it’s impressive and expansive. One of the largest museums in the U.S., the MFA houses almost 450,000 artworks and runs an impressive visiting exhibition program. Abandon any notions that you’ll see the entire collection in a single day.
Pick up a floor plan and enquire about the free gallery tours at the Sharf Visitor Center. For collections that hold a particular interest, download the detailed multimedia guides to your smartphone.
Museum highlights include an extensive collection of musical instruments, jewelry, and textiles from around the world and across the ages. Explore the Asian Art collection, which is reputed to be among the finest in the Western world. And for a taste of nirvana, spend a little quiet time in the Buddha room.
Allow a few hours to explore the museum’s newest addition, the Art of the Americas wing. It houses more than 5,000 works from North, Central and South America. The wing encompasses 53 galleries, arranged chronologically over four floors. Don’t miss the portrait of local hero Paul Revere by John Singleton Copley.
The gallery actively encourages visitors to learn and interact, so take advantage of the talks, art classes and workshops led by professional artists and educators. There are four on-site dining options, which include a family-friendly cafeteria and a wine bar. Two, more sophisticated offerings are the New American Café and Bravo.
Don’t despair if you don’t see as much as you planned on your first visit; your ticket price includes one free return visit, valid within ten days.
The Museum of Fine Arts is in the greater Boston area, about a 10-minute drive from downtown. The museum is accessible by subway or bus, and there’s parking on-site for a fee. MFA is open seven days a week.