21 Best Museums in Boston (For Every Kind of Mood!)

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There are so many wonderful museums in Boston — it’s considered one of my favourite issues in regards to the metropolis. Honestly, when you’re a giant museum fan, Boston is without doubt one of the greatest locations you would go!

Even so, most guests to Boston are inclined to go to the massive ones — the MFA, Museum of Science, and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum — or the mainstays of the Freedom Trail somewhat than branching out into the cool, area of interest, extra out-of-the-way museums. My suggestion? Take a have a look at the bizarre ones on this checklist!

Whether you’re a longtime Bostonian trying to discover your individual metropolis, a mum or dad decided to provide your youngsters an academic trip, or a weekend customer hoping to hit the very best spots in three days, this information will provide you with some concepts you didn’t have already.

Here they’re — the very best Boston museums.

Welcome to our fabulous museum metropolis! Via Shutterstock.

Boston Museums FAQ

A sand-colored stone museum courtyard filled with pointy Gothic windows, statues, and so much lush greenery.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has the very best courtyard in all of Boston. Via LnP photographs on Shutterstock.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a memorable museum filled with European, Asian, and American artworks. It’s a fantastic place to walk slowly by way of work, tapestries, sculptures, and different ornamental arts and immerse your self within the historical past of the world by way of artwork. 

Founded by the eccentric Isabella Stewart Gardner, the museum was made potential as a result of her will stipulated that her artwork assortment be completely displayed “for the education and enjoyment of the public forever.” She had a bohemian fashion and a thirst for journey, which makes the gathering very distinctive. The courtyard is to die for.

But in all probability what this museum is greatest identified for is probably the most well-known heist within the historical past of Boston which occurred in 1990. Thirteen artistic endeavors with a mixed worth of $500 million have been stolen in an excellent show of thievery that is still unsolved even right now.

Today, there are empty frames the place the stolen artwork must be. I extremely advocate studying in regards to the heist earlier than visiting; the “Last Seen” podcast is an efficient place to start out.

Admission to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors 65+, and $13 for college kids with legitimate ID. 

Two bright red glowing orbs in a dark room sending what looks like a strike of lightning to a giant bird cage with a man inside it.
The Van der Graaf Generator at Boston’s Museum of Science, through James Kirkikis on Shutterstock

Museum of Science

As one of many world’s largest science facilities, Boston’s Museum of Science is the proper place for inquisitive youngsters and children at coronary heart! Located on the Charles River Basin, a wide range of enjoyable interactive shows span the museum’s rotating and everlasting displays. 

The Hall of Human Life, Wicked Smart: Invented within the Hub, Live Animal Care Center, and New England Habitats are simply a number of the superb displays you’ll discover right here. In reality, there are over 500 interactive displays and a wide range of reside shows all through the day. 

The MOS options the Omni Theater, New England’s solely domed IMAX theater, in addition to a planetarium and a Theater of Electricity with one of many world’s largest Van de Graaf turbines, a boon for science nerds! 

Speaking as an grownup who went on many subject journeys right here as a child — the Museum of Science is without doubt one of the greatest issues to do in Boston with youngsters. They will LOVE it.

Admission is $29 for adults, $25 for seniors, and $24 for kids age 3-11 (beneath 3 get in totally free). Become a member to get entry to occasions and free admission all year long, together with parking entry.

Read More: 24 Fabulous Things to Do in Cambridge, Mass.

A couple paused in front of one of Monet's paintings of water lilies.
Monet’s Impressionist works draw loads of guests on the MFA in Boston, through Luke W. Choi on Shutterstock

Museum of Fine Arts

The assortment on the Museum of Fine Arts, domestically referred to as the MFA, is huge with artifacts and art work that may impress probably the most discerning of museum-goers. Not solely does it home among the best collections of Korean artwork outdoors the peninsula of Korea itself, however the museum is thought for its somewhat magnificent Ancient Egypt assortment. 

For those that recognize John Singer Sargent, there’s additionally a complete assortment of his work. There is a lot right here that you would spend weeks viewing all the pieces. But no matter you do, don’t miss the Claude Monet gallery within the European wing. Reinstalled in 2016, it’s among the best caches of the Impressionist motion outdoors of France. 

And who can neglect the spectacular Arts of Islamic Cultures Gallery which was developed in 2019 in collaboration with native Muslim teams.

General admission is $27 for adults, $10 for kids 7-17, with kids 6 and beneath free. There are add-ons for particular rotating displays. 

The modern ICA building jutting out over the edge of Boston Harbor, as people sit at tables by the water.
The ICA cuts a dramatic profile on the waterfront. Via Marcio Jose Bastos Silva on Shutterstock.

Institute of Contemporary Art

The Institute of Contemporary Art, identified in Boston because the ICA, this darling of a museum had its everlasting residence in-built 2006 on the sting of the harbor within the Seaport District. Located in a former manufacturing unit in East Boston, the modern constructing designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro mirrors industrial cranes loading container ships. 

Once inside, you’ll see artworks which might be each modern and provocative, with a formidable program. The assortment is anchored by such feminine artists as Doris Salcedo, Eva Hesse, and Louise Bourgeois, all of which have been donated by philanthropist Barbara Lee. 

From Memorial Day by way of Labor Day, a seasonal satellite tv for pc house for large-scale work is a part of the ICA watershed. 

Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, and $10 for college kids. If you guide forward to get your tickets, there’s a free shuttle that may take you to the museum out of your resort. 

The exterior of the Boston Children's Museum, a building of mostly glass.
Entrance to the Children’s Museum of Boston in Fort Point, through Shutterstock.

Boston Children’s Museum

Set alongside the Fort Point channel in a former warehouse, the Boston Children’s Museum has three sprawling flooring of hands-on experiential studying areas for teenagers of all ages. It is without doubt one of the largest kids’s museums within the United States, and its everlasting assortment proves it.

Some 50,000 gadgets vary from nationwide historic specimens, historic artifacts, and uncommon dolls. Immersive, hands-on studying is the order of the day, and don’t be shocked to stroll into an “Explore-a-Saurus” part or bubble room that may convey out the child in anybody. 

There can also be a second-floor PlaySpace for the youngest adventurers as much as 3 years of age, and Martin’s Park, a public playground situated behind the museum. 

Admission is $20 for teenagers and adults, with infants getting in unencumber till their first birthday. If you’d prefer to take your youngsters to PlaySpace, you’ll need to order your spot (included with admission value).

A woman leaning over to feed two penguins in a display at the aquarium.
Feeding penguins on the New England Aquarium, through Pavel L Photo and Video on Shutterstock.

New England Aquarium

Situated on Boston’s stunning Central Wharf, the New England Aquarium has greater than a dozen displays highlighting lots of of aquatic species around the globe. This standard Boston Waterfront attraction does a tremendous job of recreating the pure habitats that vary from reefs to tide swimming pools to rocky shorelines.

The aquarium additionally affords whale watching excursions the place guests can view whales, dolphins, sea birds, and different thrilling marine life. An IMAX theater options animals and their habitats, and different 3D motion pictures. 

Admission is $32 for adults, $30 for seniors 60+, $23 for teenagers age 3-11, and children beneath three are free. 

A brightly lit up 18th century brick building with a white bell tower, surrounded by modern skyscrapers at twilight.
The Old State House makes a putting look within the Financial District, through Shutterstock.

Old State House Museum

Built in 1713, the Old State House was town’s first townhouse and is the oldest surviving public constructing in Boston. Back within the day, it served as a gathering spot to trade the information of the day and was thought-about to be the middle of politics within the colonies. 

The Declaration of Independence was learn from its east facet balcony, and simply throughout the road is the place the Boston Massacre happened. It is certainly one of the essential buildings in U.S. historical past, and situated proper on the Freedom Trail.

I additionally suppose it’s one of the photogenic spots within the metropolis. I really like the outdated constructing surrounded by skyscrapers, particularly simply after sundown when the lights come up.

Tickets for timed entry should be bought prematurely and are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors, $14 for college kids, and $8 for kids 8-12. 

An old-fashioned brick church with a white bell tower surrounded by modern skyscrapers.
The Old South Meeting House, proper on the Freedom Trail in Downtown Crossing, Boston, through DepositPhotos.

Old South Meeting House Museum

Since 1877 the Old South has served as a museum, historic web site, instructional establishment, and a sanctuary totally free speech. Today, it continues to be a catalyst for mental thought and sponsors public boards, live shows, debates, and theatrical shows. And a cease on the Freedom Trail, in fact!

The ongoing exhibit known as “Voices of Protest” conveys the inspiring and typically controversial story of the Old South Meeting House as informed by way of the men and women whose achievements have formed historical past.

Admission is $15 for adults, $14 for seniors 65+, $14 for college kids, and $8 for kids 12 and beneath. 

A small gray house from the 1700s with tiny windows, set amongst taller brick buildings on a cobblestone street.
Paul Revere House within the coronary heart of the North End (near nice Italian eating places!), through DepositPhotos.

Paul Revere House

Though technically extra a historic residence than a museum, the Paul Revere House deserves a spot on my greatest museums in Boston checklist as a result of the person was such a legend! The well-known patriot, craftsman, and entrepreneur Paul Revere single-handedly modified the course of American historical past.

Tour his two-story, wood-frame Tudor-style residence and find out about 18th-century household life, view artifacts associated to Revere’s many enterprise ventures, and get the actual story of his well-known midnight journey as informed in his personal phrases! 

(That is, when you didn’t go to Elementary School within the Boston space and didn’t need to memorize Paul Revere’s Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to carry out at assemblies.)

Admission is $6 for adults, $5.50 for seniors and college students, and solely $1 for kids 5-17. 

A red house reading Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum next to the water, where a yellow ship is anchored.
The Boston Tea Party Museum through Shutterstock.

Boston Tea Party Ships

This one is a deal with because it brings historical past into larger-than-life standing with authentically-restored tea ships that mimic the fated tea thrown into Boston Harbor. Visitors will step again in time to the Boston Tea Party with a self-guided tour the place you possibly can relive crucial occasion main as much as the American Revolution.

But that is greater than only a stroll by way of historic artifacts, it’s an in-depth have a look at occasions as they really occurred. You will view one of many two remaining tea chests from the Boston Tea Party. 

And you possibly can even throw a faux field of tea into Boston Harbor! It’s hooked up to a rope they usually haul it up once more, nevertheless it makes a fantastic Instagram op! (I prefer to convey my British mates to this one.)

Admission is $31.95 for adults and $23.95 for teenagers 5-12, which features a guided tour with costumed interpreters, touring the restored 18th century vessel, viewing the Robinson Tea Chest, and extra.

A large, long library room with a curved granite ceiling. Rows of tables with green lamps, people studying at them.
Inside the elegant Boston Public Library, through DepositPhotos.

Boston Public Library 

While this isn’t a museum per se, the Boston Public Library is occurring my checklist as a result of it looks like one. This is without doubt one of the greatest historic websites not associated to the American Revolution, and has some fairly cool exhibitions. A pioneer of the general public library service in America, it was the primary public library to lend books to locals.

With 25 neighborhood branches, the central library consists of two landmark buildings situated in Copley Square in Back Bay. Notable gadgets embody first version folios by William Shakespeare, authentic music scores by Mozart, and the non-public library of President John Adams. 

Recently the BPL started to supply reasonably priced mid-week weddings, so maintain your eyes peeled for completely satisfied {couples}!

Anyone can go to the library and there’s free admission, however if you wish to view particular assortment supplies and uncommon books, you’ll need to be a library card holder. 

A modern white concrete building with a black glass attachment underneath a cloud-streaked blue sky.
Entrance to the JFK Library in Dorchester, through DepositPhotos.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Synonymous with the legacy of Boston, the Kennedy household is nearly mythological in American historical past, and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is a beautiful deep dive into considered one of Boston’s favourite sons.

Following the assassination of JFK, his spouse Jacqueline Kennedy helped information the imaginative and prescient of the library because it was developed into a contemporary monument and memorial to the 35th American President. The curated galleries transfer by way of Kennedy’s adolescence to his time on the White House, and the exhibitions seize the eloquence of his speeches (and that unmistakeable accent).

Admission is $18 for adults (US veterans get $4 off grownup value), $12 for seniors 62+ and faculty college students, and $10 for teenagers 13-17 (12 and beneath are free).

Note: If you’re taken with JFK’s life and historical past, contemplate heading down the Cape to go to the numerous Kennedy websites in Hyannis. Read extra in my information to the cities of Cape Cod.

Commonwealth Museum

Located adjoining to the Edward M. Kennedy Institute on Columbus Point, historical past buffs will probably be overjoyed with the Commonwealth Museum. The story of Massachusetts is dropped at life by way of its wealthy historical past and thru the museum’s interactive, state-of-the-art displays. 

On show are artifacts courting again to 1630 when John Winthrop and the Pilgrims landed right here from England. ‘The Commonwealth’ is usually used as a euphemism for all of Massachusetts, so you might hear locals use the time period fairly a bit. 

Admission to the museum is free to the general public, making it a one of many uncommon free museums in Boston.

A red brick building with columns in front reading University Museum and Harvard Museum of Natural History.
The Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge Mass., through DepositPhotos.

Harvard Museum of Natural History

The Harvard Museum of Natural History is encompassed by three analysis museums: the Museum of Comparative Zoology, the Mineralogical & Geological Museum, and the Harvard University Herbaria. Together, their mission is to reinforce public understanding and appreciation for the pure world and our place in it. 

This is the most-visited attraction at Harvard and options everlasting galleries, historic collections, and short-term exhibitions. Browse by way of unique pure wonders as you are taking an immersive journey around the globe. From Cenozoic mammals, to local weather change, evolution, and extra, that is a tremendous museum throughout.

Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors 65+, and $10 for teenagers 3-18 and college students with legitimate ID.

A smaller brick building with big windows and a concrete sign reading Fogg Museum of Art.
Entrance to the Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge, through Shutterstock.

Harvard Museum of Art

Step into the Harvard Museum of Art, or HMA, and also you’ll truly be visiting three museums without delay. The Fogg Museum showcases Western artwork from the Middle Ages to right now. The Busch-Reisinger Museum options artwork from northern and central Europe, whereas the Arthur M Sackler Museum incorporates a positive assortment of Asian, Islamic, and Indian artwork. 

The bricked-facade museum surrounds a lovely courtyard topped by a pyramidal glass ceiling made potential by its Italian architect Renzo Piano. It offers all the museum a breadth and depth which epitomizes Harvard’s footprint within the artwork world.

Admission is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors 65+, free to all college students with ID (in addition to Harvard college students, who get to convey a visitor totally free), and free for kids. Everyone will get in free on Sundays. 

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology

From giant Mayan sculptures to towering totem poles to valuable artifacts from the traditional previous, the Peabody Museum encompasses six continents of world tradition and is only a quick stroll from Harvard Square. See life-size casts of Maya monuments, together with rotating exhibitions that epitomize unique cultures in addition to colonial Harvard.

Founded in 1866, the Peabody is without doubt one of the oldest museums on the planet dedicated to anthropology, housing one of the complete information of cultural historical past within the Western Hemisphere. 

(Note: that is completely different from the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, one of many hottest issues to do in Salem.)

Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, and $10 for college kids with legitimate ID and children 3-18. Admission is free for teenagers beneath 3 in addition to Harvard college students and Massachusetts residents with ID. 

A gray metal modern building reading MIT Museum Building.
The MIT Museum in Cambridge, through FrimuFilms on Shutterstock.

MIT Museum

Located throughout the river from Boston in Cambridge, the MIT Museum is the place guests can nerd out on the mental facet of Massachusetts. The MIT Museum’s galleries, exhibitions, workshops, demos, performances, and extra invite you to take part within the ongoing journey of innovation and analysis. 

It incorporates a huge assortment of rotating and everlasting STEM-based tasks. Learn about MIT’s contribution to science, know-how, and different areas of lecturers within the fashionable world. 

Though closed on the time of publication, the MIT Museum will probably be reopening in its new Kendall Square location in October 2022.

Admission costs will probably be obtainable when the web site is revamped. 

Boston Fire Museum

The Boston Fire Museum is without doubt one of the area of interest museums in Boston and offers a real behind-the-scenes look into what a firefighter actually does and the instruments they use to do their job. They search to protect Boston’s firefighting memorabilia, restore and keep the general public firehouse, and educate the general public about hearth security.

Visitors get to view some fairly cool gadgets corresponding to a hand-drawn pumper utilized by firefighters in 1793. Engines, alarms, images, and different artifacts are included within the museum’s displays.

It’s proper across the nook from the Children’s Museum in Fort Point, making these two a simple pairing for households. Don’t miss Flour Bakery close by! Their large home made Oreos are incredible.

The Boston Fire Museum is a non-profit and admission is free. Their working prices come from fundraising and donations.

The Sports Museum

In a metropolis as sports-crazed as Boston, in fact there’s a museum dedicated to the native groups! Located on the 5th and 6th flooring of the TD Garden, the Sports Museum options displays properly organized by sport; hockey, basketball, baseball, and soccer. Sports followers will get a kick out of concourse galleries additionally highlighting rugby, boxing, soccer, and artifacts from the Boston marathon.

The museum boasts life-size statues of Larry Bird, Bobby Orr, and Carl Yastrzemski, amongst others, in addition to an outdated hockey penalty field, and rather more.

Admission is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, $10 for teenagers 7-18, and people beneath 6 get in free. Private VIP excursions and subject journeys are additionally obtainable.

An 18th century old-fashioned large black ship docked in a harbor on a winter day. There is a bit of snow on the ground and a bright blue cloudless sky.
Old Ironsides, a.ok.a. the USS Constitution, anchored in Charlestown, through DepositPhotos.

USS Constitution 

The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned ship within the US Navy, and naval officers and crew nonetheless serve aboard her right now. What makes this attraction particular is that it marks the top of the Freedom Trail at Charlestown Navy Yard. Here guests can discover how the ship was constructed, sailed, and preserved.

Construction first started on the ship in October of 1797, when a then-young United States needed to defend herself towards the British Royal Navy. Today the story is informed time and again by a formidable assortment and interactive displays that all the household can take pleasure in.

Admission is free, though there’s a recommended admission of $10–15 for adults, and $5–10 for kids.

Vilna Shul

Vilna Shul, a incredible heart for Jewish tradition, is the final immigrant-era synagogue nonetheless in existence within the metropolis of Boston. It has turn into a spot for individuals to attach with Boston Jewish cultural, historic, and non secular experiences. 

By weaving collectively these facets of Jewish life, the Vilna Shul conjures up American Jewish pleasure and creates an approachable means for each stroll of life to debate Judaism. It operates as a cultural heart, providing a wide range of programming, together with movies, conversations, and month-to-month Shabbat providers for all.

This essential cultural heart is one other of the free museums in Boston, apart from particular occasions. They do settle for donations.

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What’s your favourite museum in Boston? Share away!

21 Best Museums in Boston (For Every Kind of Mood!)



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