Whether you’re a teacher who wants to expose your students to the world of art or the leader of a senior citizens’ group that embraces any chance to learn, you’ll find what you’re looking for at the Museum of Fine Arts. Located in Boston’s Fenway-Kenmore district, MFA houses more than 450,000 works that range from paintings to pottery to coins. If you need an easy way to reach the museum, call National Charter Bus Boston at 617-275-8102. Drivers are familiar with the city and can help you navigate the historic streets and neighborhoods easily.
The Museum of Fine Arts lies on Huntington Avenue in the Fenway-Kenmore district, within walking distance of Fenway Park. It’s a super-cool area, but not an easy area to park in. Parking garages are available for a fee but have very limited spaces, so individual visitors may want to rely on public transit. If you’re with a group, a charter bus is one of the easier ways to reach MFA. You can ask your driver to drop you off a short distance from the museum and then walk to the Linde Family Wing Entrance, which can only be used by schools, groups, and visitors with disabilities.
The Museum of Fine Arts boasts an eclectic collection with works from the Middle East, Ancient Greece and Rome, Europe, the Americas, the Pacific Islands, and East Asia. So how do you choose what to explore? Here are a few ideas:
Although Sargent wasn’t born in Boston, he lived there when he was in America and considered it his home. MFA honors its native son with the most complete collection of Sargent works in the world. An entire gallery is dedicated to his paintings, watercolors, drawings, and sculptures, and his famous portrait The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit is displayed next to the same Japanese vases depicted in the picture.
The Museum of Fine Arts is widely considered to have one of the best collections of Korean art outside of Korea itself. You can walk past beautiful pieces of metalwork and lacquer, like a 12-century gilt silver ewer and a 14th-century gilt silver Buddhist reliquary. Although the gallery emphasizes decorative arts, it also features contemporary ceramics and Buddhist and secular paintings.
If you love Impressionism, you won’t want to miss one of the largest collections of Monet’s works outside France. (Noticing a pattern with all these large collections?) Monet’s gallery includes La Japonaise (Camille Monet in Japanese Costume), Meadow with Poplars, and Grand Canal, Venice. Once you’re finished with Monet, visit the Plein Air exhibit to see more Impressionist works by Sisley, Pissarro, and Signac.
If you’d like to learn about the art while you view it, you can rent the MFA Guide, a recorded tour that you listen to with headphones as you wander around the museum. While this is a great option for senior citizens or corporate groups that don’t want to invest in a formal guided tour, it might not hold the attention of kids. But don’t worry—the museum offers a wide array of activities for school groups and families.
The Museum of Fine Arts welcomes kids with fun activities like a “family art cart” that travels throughout the galleries so kids four and up can make their own art. Other kid-friendly activities include MFA Playdates, where toddlers get to hear stories and look at galleries as well as make art, and Junior Artists events, where kids ages five to eight can practice painting and drawing.
If you’re not at the museum in time for a specific event, the Mummies exhibit is often a hit with kids who find the process of creating mummies fascinating. MFA also offers self-guided activity sheets to keep your kids occupied as your family wanders the galleries.
Planning a field trip? Teachers in K-12 schools in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont receive free admission to the museum, and all Boston and Lawrence public schools can bring students for free. If your school is outside Boston or Lawrence and is a Title I school, you can apply for bus grants and admission waivers. Schools that aren’t Title I or based in Boston or Lawrence can still receive discounted admission. See below for specific information on ticket prices.
Large groups of all types can book discounted tickets to the museum. However, you’ll need to plan ahead. K-12 school groups can choose between a self-guided tour or one of more than a dozen guided tours. If you’re not a Boston or Lawrence public school or a Title I school, prices are as follows:
Self-guided visit: $7 per student, plus $3 per-order processing fee
Guided tour: $9 per student, plus $3 per-order processing fee
Once you’ve chosen the right option for your class, you’ll need to fill out either a Guided Tour Reservation Request or a Self-Guided Visit Reservation Request. These forms need to be completed online at least four weeks before your preferred field trip date. Group Sales will respond to your submission within two days. Image credit
Adult and university groups also receive a discount, though it’s not nearly as big. Prices for adult and university groups doing self-guided tours are as follows:
Adults: $20 each
Seniors/students: $18 each
The museum does make an exception for undergraduate students, faculty, and staff affiliated with universities in Maine and New Hampshire, who can get in for free. Contact the museum if you think you may qualify for this program.
Adult groups also have to pay a hefty fee for guided tours. Groups of 15 or fewer people pay $150 plus admission costs, while groups with more than 15 people pay $10 per person plus admission costs. In spite of this price tag, guided tours can still be a good option if you want to get as much out of your museum trip as possible or if you’re leading a group of senior citizens who would like to stick close and learn together.
Once you’ve decided what your group would like to see and purchased your tickets, you’re well on your way to a successful MFA trip. Here’s some additional information to help you finish your planning.
The museum is open seven days a week. You might want to bring your group on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday since the museum is open much later on those days, giving you more time to check out the exhibits. Museum hours are as follows:
Mon-Tue: 10 am-5 pm
Wed-Fri: 10 am-10 pm
Sat-Sun: 10 am-5 pm
The museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. If you’re not from Massachusetts, it might surprise you that the museum is also closed one day in April for Patriots’ Day. Check the calendar to make sure you don’t schedule your visit then.
Take note that the museum closes early on Thanksgiving Eve, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve as well as on the day of MFA Late Nites, a special evening festival. Even if it’s a Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, you’ll have to leave by 5 pm on those days.
Bags larger than 11 x 15” must be checked when you enter the museum. If you don’t want to check your bag, you’re probably better off leaving it on the charter bus. Even if you’re willing to check it, the museum won’t check laptops or cameras, so you’ll either have to leave them behind (the bus has plenty of storage!) or carry them with you.
The museum houses many beautiful works you may want pictures of, and guests are welcome to take photos of works in the permanent collection. However, MFA asks that you not use a flash, tripod, or selfie stick.
The MFA strives to be accessible for all of its guests. All galleries, exhibition spaces, and dining locations are wheelchair-accessible, and wheelchair-accessible entrances and parking spots are available.
For guests who are hard of hearing, the museum provides Assistive Listening Devices, such as headphones and neckloops. The MFA Guide is also available in an American Sign Language version for Deaf or hard of hearing guests.
Guests who are blind or have low vision can take advantage of the audio description feature on the MFA Guide. You can also pick up a large-print map or a Tactile Art Card at visitor services. A Tactile Art Card offers raised graphics so you can feel the art and descriptions written in Braille and large print. Image credit
MFA also practices inclusivity in its restrooms. Traditionally gendered restrooms (restrooms assigned to men or women) welcome all people who share that gender identity. In addition, the museum provides all-gender restrooms and two single-occupancy restrooms for guests with disabilities who need extra assistance. All restrooms have wheelchair-accessible stalls except those on the Level 2 Rotunda.
The Museum of Fine Arts features four restaurants and a seasonal sidewalk cafe open during warm weather. The restaurants range from the upscale, like 465 Bar and Restaurant, to the casual, like the Taste café. Although all of the dining venues have enticing food options, Garden Cafeteria may be the best bet for large groups. Excellent for families, the cafeteria offers pizza, sandwiches, and hamburgers as well as a salad bar and a selection of desserts.
Once you’ve made your reservation to visit the Museum of Fine Arts, contact National Charter Bus Boston at 617-275-8102 and make your reservation to get there. We’ll help you choose a charter bus that’s the perfect size for your group and has all the amenities you want, whether that means free Wi-Fi and reclining seats or TVs and luggage storage. Call us today and get ready to see art that will take your breath away.