Over its 130 year-plus history, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) has collected some 350,000 pieces from an array of cultures and civilizations, ranging from ancient Egyptian tomb treasures to stylish modern artworks. The museum is currently undergoing major expansion with the addition of a new American Wing, and more. Be sure to request a gallery guide as exhibitions are subject to change.

  • 465 Huntington Ave (Ave of the Arts)

  • 617 267 9300


  • “T” station: Museum (green line/E train)

  • Open: 10am–4:45pm Mon–Tue, 10am–9:45pm Wed–Fri (some galleries open after 5pm on Thu & Fri); 10am–4:45pm Sat–Sun

  • Adm: $17

Gallery Guide

Many masterpieces in the MFA collection have been moved during the $500 million expansion of the East Wing, which is due to be completed by 2010. While work is underway the rest of the museum’s collection – one of the most comprehensive art collections in the world – is subject to movement and change. Call ahead for the latest information, and make sure you request a gallery guide to the nearly 450,000 works of art on display at the MFA.

The MFA boasts a restaurant on each of its three levels, escalating in quality and price as you move from the courtyard level upward.

Boston’s hottest singles meet for drinks at MFA First Fridays 5:30–9:30pm Sep–Jun, first Friday of the month and every Friday in summer. Free entry with MFA general admission.

Free admission to the museum on Wednesdays 4–9.45pm

Top 10 Features
  1. La Japonaise

    Claude Monet’s 1876 portrait reflects a time when Japanese culture fascinated Europe’s most style-conscious circles. The model, interestingly, is Monet’s wife, Camille.

  2. Japanese Temple Room

    With its wood paneling and subdued lighting, the Temple Room evokes ancient Japanese shrines atop mist-enshrouded mountains. The statues, which date from as early as the seventh century, depict prominent figures from Buddhist texts.

  3. John Singer Sargent Murals

    Having secured some of Sargent’s most important portraiture in the early-20th century, the MFA went one step further and commissioned the artist to paint murals and bas-reliefs on its central rotunda and colonnade.

  4. John Singleton Copley Portraits

    The self-taught, Boston-born Copley made a name for himself by painting the most affluent and influential Bostonians of his day, from pre-Revolutionary figures like John Hancock to early American presidents.

  5. Egyptian Royal Pectoral

    This extremely rare chest ornament is nearly 4,000 years old. A vulture is depicted with a cobra on its left wing, ready to strike. This juxtaposition symbolized the union of Upper and Lower Egypt.

  6. Statue of King Aspelta

    This statue of the great 6th-century BC Nubian king, Aspelta, was recovered in 1920 at Nuri in present-day Sudan during a MFA/Harvard joint expedition.

  7. Postman Joseph Roulin

    The MFA boasts some of Vincent van Gogh’s most important work, including this 1888 oil, which was painted during his stay in Arles, France.

  8. Silverwork by Paul Revere

    Famed for his midnight ride, Revere was also known for his masterful silverwork. The breadth of his ability is apparent in the museum’s 200-piece collection.

  9. Dance at Bougival

    This endearing image (1883) of a couple dancing is among Renoir’s most beloved works. It exemplifies the artist’s knack for taking a timeless situation and modernizing it by dressing his subjects in the latest fashions.

  10. Christ in Majesty with Symbols

    Acquired in 1919 from a small Spanish church, this medieval fresco had an amazingly complex journey to Boston, which involved waterproofing it with lime and Parmesan for safe transport.

Museum of Fine Arts Collections

Plan (subject to change)
  1. Art of Asia

    For Japanese art connoisseurs, the museum offers a dizzying overview of Japan’s multiple artistic forms. In fact, the MFA holds the largest collection of ancient Japanese art outside of Japan. In addition to the tranquil Temple Room, with its centuries-old Buddhist statues, visitors should admire the beautiful hanging scrolls and woodblock prints, with their magical, dramatic landscapes and spirited renderings of everyday life. Kurasawa fans will be enthralled by the menacing samurai weaponry. Additionally, the Art of Asia collection boasts exquisite objects from 2,000 years of Chinese, Indian, and Southeast Asian history, including sensuous ivory figurines, pictorial carpets, and vibrant watercolors.

  2. Art of Egypt, Nubia, & the Ancient Near East

    This collection is a treasure trove of millennia-old Egyptian sarcophagi, tomb finds, and Nubian jewelry and objects from everyday life. The assemblage of Egyptian funerary pieces, including beautifully-crafted jewelry and intact ceramic urns is awe-inspiring. Ancient Near Eastern artifacts, with their bold iconography and rich materials, illustrate why the region was known as the Cradle of Civilization.

  3. Classical Art

    The remarkable Classical Art Collection has a hoard of gold bracelets, glass, mosaic bowls, and stately marble busts. One of the earliest pieces is a c.1500 BC gold axe, inscribed with symbols from a still-undeciphered Cretan language.

  4. American Art to 1900

    The MFA houses the world’s finest collection of colonial New England furniture. The museum also showcases rare 17th-century American portraiture and works from the country’s own “Old” Masters, including Copley, Stuart, Cole, Sargent, Cassat, Homer, and many others.

  5. European Art to 1900

    From 12th-century tempera baptism scenes to Claude Monet’s Haystacks, the MFA’s European collection is staggeringly diverse. Painstakingly transferred medieval stained-glass windows, beautifully illuminated bibles, and delicate French tapestries are displayed alongside works by Old Masters: Titian, El Greco, Rembrandt, and Rubens. The superlative Impressionist collection boasts the likes of Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Cézanne.

  6. Textile & Fashion Arts

    Rotating displays highlight pictorial quilts, period fashions, fine Persian rugs, and pre-colonial Andean weavings. Particularly interesting are the museum’s holdings of textiles and costumes from the Elizabethan and Stuart periods – an unprecedented 1943 donation from the private collection of Elizabeth Day McCormick.

  7. Contemporary Art

    Given Boston’s affinity for the traditional, you might be surprised by this world-class collection of contemporary and late-20th century art, including works by Chuck Close and Jackson Pollock.

  8. Musical Instruments

    Priceless 17th-century guitars, ornately inlaid pianos, and even a mouth organ are on view to visitors of the MFA. Among the more distinctive pieces is the c.1796 English grand piano – the earliest extant example of a piano with a six-octave range – and a 1680 French guitar by the Voboam workshop.

  9. Art of Africa, Oceania, & the Ancient Americas

    Pre-colonial artifacts from these collections include Melanese canoe ornaments, dramatic Congolese bird sculptures, and Mayan burial urns. The African art collection’s most popular display is the powerful looking 19th/and 20th-century wooden masks. Hieroglyphic texts painted on Mayan ceramics can also be seen.

  10. “Please be Seated!” Installations

    One of the country’s most comprehensive collections of American contemporary furniture is interspersed throughout the MFA’s galleries. The museum encourages visitors to not only admire these furniture pieces, but to sit on them, too. Take a break and have a seat on fine American handiwork by designers such as Maloof, Castle, and Eames.

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