Our city offers plenty of access to world-class museums. In fact, there are so many of these institutions in our city, that it takes quite a while to explore them all. Although this list is by no means comprehensive – if it were, you’d be reading for hours – we’ve highlighted the museums that make us feel lucky to call Boston home.
1. Museum of Fine Arts (465 Huntington Avenue, Boston)
The MFA is one of the top art museums in the U.S. and its permanent collection includes works from around the globe and across the centuries. Wander through the vast Art of the Americas Wing, which consists of 49 galleries, then linger in the Impressionist galleries to admire 37 pieces by Monet. It’s easy to spend a full day here and still not view every gallery and exhibition.
2. Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum (306 Congress Street, Boston)
If you prefer to be a participant rather than an observer, you’ll love this one-of-a-kind experience where you recreate history— and get to toss tea into Boston Harbor. The museum even has the remains of a chest from the actual Tea Party!
3. Museum of Science (1 Science Park, Boston)
Another hands-on attraction is the Museum of Science. The setting - overlooking the Charles - is fantastic and, once inside, hours of fun await. Check out the butterfly garden, planetarium, dinosaurs displays, and live animal care center.
4. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (25 Evans Way, Boston)
Whether you consider it an homage to high-caliber hoarding, a home museum, or just one of the prettiest places in Boston, the Gardner Museum belongs on every bucket list. The dramatic courtyard is a huge draw and, inside this ornate building, you’ll find thousands of paintings, sculptures, rare books, furniture, textiles, and more. See works by John Singer Sargent, Titian, Matisse, Degas, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli… the list goes on!
5. John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum and Library (Columbia Point, Boston)
Learn about JFK and his family at this fascinating museum, which is worth visiting for the views from the atrium alone. The highlight is a replica of the Oval Office. You’ll also learn about the Civil Rights Movement, the Space Race, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and more.
6. Boston Fire Museum (344 Congress Street, Boston)
If fire trucks have always seized your attention, this little museum is a gem you’ll treasure. Filled with historical fire-fighting equipment and old fire engines – including one built by Paul Revere – this is an enthralling spot for history buffs, kids, and kids at heart.
7. Harvard Museum of Natural History (26 Oxford Street, Cambridge)
Come here for the renowned "Glass Flowers" display featuring 4,000 startlingly delicate and realistic plant models crafted in glass by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka. Stick around to see the 1,600 pound amethyst geode and the only mounted Kronosaurus skeleton in the world (pictured above).
8. Museum of African American History (46 Joy Street, Boston)
Part of the Black Heritage Trail, this museum explores the history, communities, and contributions of African Americans in New England from Colonial times onward. Within the Abiel Smith School, discover rotating exhibits – the current one is devoted to images of Frederick Douglass, "The Most Photographed American of the 19th Century."
9. Boston Children’s Museum (308 Congress Street, Boston)
Bring the kiddos to the second oldest children’s museum on the planet! They’ll love the creative opportunities in the art studio, playing with bubbles, and the construction zone. This kids’ museum is unusual because it houses a collection of 50,000 items from all over the world, including a vast doll collection.
10. The Institute of Contemporary Art (25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston)
For unique, large-scale, and thought-provoking exhibitions, head to the ICA. The continually changing works on display ensure that no two visits are ever alike.
11. Warren Anatomical Museum (10 Shattuck Street, Boston)
Creepy or captivating? You decide. The
Warren Anatomical Museum
contains medical oddities and helps us to understand the evolution of medicine. It’s most famous for owning the skull of Phineas Gage, a railroad worker who survived an accident in which an iron rod passed through his head! Gage's accident led to some of the most groundbreaking studies that vastly expanded our knowledge of neurological anatomy and mechanics.
How many of these museums have you visited? Do you have a favorite that wasn’t listed here Let us know in the comments! We’re always excited to explore new places!