Museum of Fine Arts

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Museum of Fine Arts
Photograph: Roger Metcalf

Founded in 1870, the MFA moved from Copley Square to its current home, a neoclassical granite building on Huntington Avenue—the so-called "Avenue of the Arts"—in 1909. The globe-spanning collection encompasses 450,000 objects. Of particular note are the collection of American art, including Paul Revere's silver Liberty Bowl and paintings by John Singleton Copley; the Egyptian collection, much of which was acquired through excavations in conjunction with Harvard University in the first half of the 20th century; the Japanese collection (the first in America and one of the finest in the world); and the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, including an impressive array by Monet—the second largest collection of his work in the US, after the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The Upper Rotunda in the centre of the building is adorned by John Singer Sargent's spectacular murals, which pay tribute to the museum's role as guardian of the arts through references to Greek mythology. As well as the vast permanent collection, all of which is presented in an accessible way with a contemporary eye for design and placement, the MFA hosts major temporary exhibitions on such diverse themes as couture fashion and Spanish art during the reign of Philip III and retrospectives of greats such as Edward Hopper.

A new American wing (covering the art of North, Central and South America) and an enclosed courtyard, designed by the firm of British architect Norman Foster, famous for the contemporary revamp of the British Museum's Great Court, has added even more variety to the collection. Refuelling options comprise two cafés and a more formal restaurant, Bravo. There's also a program of arthouse films and festivals and, increasingly, new and world music, in the Remis Auditorium and the Calderwood Courtyard.


Venue name: Museum of Fine Arts
Address: 465 Huntington Avenue

Cross street: at Museum Road
Opening hours: 10am-4.45pm Mon, Tue, Sat, Sun; 10am-9.45pm Wed-Fri
Transport: Green line to Museum of Fine Arts
Price: $20; $7.50-$18 reductions; free under-6s; free under-17s weekdays after 3pm, weekends & school holidays. Free to all 4-9.45pm Wed