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20+ museums around Boston

Whether you’re a history buff, art aficionado, or sports fan, these Boston-area museums have it all.

Exterior of brick wall at MassArt Art Museum

We’re sharing everything from the free MassArt Art Museum to the Waterworks Museum in Chestnut Hill.

Photo by @waiyo.daiyo

Table of Contents

Museums are the cultural hubs of Massachusetts. Whether you’re looking to learn something new about our city or plotting a way to spend your Saturday afternoon, here are 20+ museums to visit in the Greater Boston area.

Arts

Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave. | $10-$34
The art museum near Northeastern University houses almost 500,000 works, spanning from ancient artistry to modern masterpieces. Take the T the Green Line E train to the Museum of Fine Arts stop for easy access via public transportation.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 25 Evans Way | $13-$20
This museum, perhaps best known as the location of an infamous art theft, houses examples of European, Asian, and American art collected by Isabella Stewart Gardner during her lifetime.

Courtyard of Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Did you know anyone named Isabella gets into the Gardner Museum for free?

Photo by BOStoday

Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Dr. | $15-20
This mecca of modern art (with a new wine and coffee bar) built its permanent home on the edge of the Boston Harbor in 2006.

Don’t miss: The museum’s seasonal Watershed location, open now in East Boston.

MassArt Art Museum, 621 Huntington Ave. | Free
The contemporary art museum at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design first opened its doors in February 2020. Visit to see curated exhibitions from emerging and well-known artists.

Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy St., Cambridge | Free
Harvard University’s oldest museum features European and American art from the Middle Ages to the present day. As of June 2023, it’s completely free to attend.

Don’t miss: Harvard Art Museums at Night, held on the last Thursday of each month.

History

USS Constitution Museum, Building 22, Charlestown Navy Yard | $5-$15
Head to Charlestown to learn the history of “Old Ironsides.” The ship is free to visit on a first come, first served basis, while the museum has suggested donation amounts based on visitor ages.

Paul Revere House, 19 N. Sq. | $1-$6
Bostonians can easily visit the colonial home of Paul Revere during the American Revolution. The museum, which is open daily in the North End, recounts the story of the famous Midnight Ride and hosts special events like reenactments.

Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, 306 Congress St. | $34
Reservations are required to hop aboard 18th century replica vessels and view the only known surviving tea chest from the Boston Tea Party.

Exterior of Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum on Boston Harbor

The 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party is coming up in December 2023.

Photo by @jphotowrld

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Columbia Point | $4-$18
Spend a day in Dorchester learning about our nation’s 35th president near the waterfront. Then, take a peek at these other local JFK landmarks.

Museum of African American History, 46 Joy St. | $0-$10
New England’s largest museum dedicated to preserving and showcasing the contributions of African Americans also has a location on Nantucket. Visit the Beacon Hill museum as part of the Black Heritage Trail.

Special Interest

Money Museum, 41 Bromfield St. | $250
See green on a private tour of Boston’s money museum with up to 20 guests. The downtown museum features coinage produced by the first mint of the British Colonies located in North America.

Boston Fire Museum, 344 Congress St. | Free, Donations encouraged
Since 1983, this museum has occupied the old firehouse in the Seaport District. It preserves the memory of the Boston Fire Department, one of the oldest in the nation, and educates the public about events like the Great Boston Fire of 1872.

Steam engine at Metropolitan Waterworks Museum

See three original coal-powered, steam-driven water pumps at the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum.

Metropolitan Waterworks Museum, 2450 Beacon St. | Free
This Chestnut Hill location was originally a pumping station of the Boston Metropolitan Waterworks. Visit the museum for free or pay $15 for a special access tour to explore its collection of steam engines.

How Do You See the World? Experience, 210 Massachusetts Ave. | $0-$6
Home of the Mapparium globe (which requires tickets), the various Christian Science Monitor exhibits explore progress and possibilities throughout the world as you consider your own place in it.

Sports

The Sports Museum, 100 Legends Way | $20
Founded in 1977, The Sports Museum is located inside TD Garden. Head to the information desk to catch a tour and enjoy half a mile of Boston sports memorabilia.

Pro tip: Check the schedule before you head over, as the museum is closed during games and concerts.

Bruins and Celtics banners hanging

Head to the ninth level of TD Garden and The Sports Museum to see the championship banners.

Photo provided by The Sports Museum

The Patriots Hall of Fame, 2 Patriot Pl., Foxborough | $5-$10
Built and opened by the Kraft family in 2008, the Hall of Fame is an interactive multi-media tribute to Boston’s favorite football team. Go Pats.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, 1000 Hall of Fame Ave., Springfield | $17-$27
Take a trip to the town where basketball was first invented to explore three levels on the history of America’s favorite pastime.

Kids

Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St. | $20
The second oldest children’s museum in the US, this attraction is located along the Fort Point Channel and offers plenty of STEAM activities to keep kids engaged.

Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton | $16-$17
Take a ~30-mile trip outside the city for a family day of science, nature, and play.

Pro tip: Visit for free the first Friday night of each month throughout the summer.

Outside the entrance of Boston Children's Museum

Explore the Art Lab, Fenway Farms, and PlaySpace at this museum for children.

Photo by @djdamienpaul

EcoTarium, 222 Harrington Way, Worcester | $14-$19
This museum west of Boston, previously known as the New England Science Center, is home to the Alden Planetarium and plenty of outdoor explorations.

Don’t miss: The Explorer Express train pulled by a scale model of an 1860s steam engine.

Science

Museum of Science, 1 Science Park | $5-$29
Check out the revolving temporary exhibits, IMAX films, and Planetarium shows at New England’s most attended cultural institution. The on-site parking garage is opening daily from 5 a.m. until midnight.

Don’t miss: The Mission:Mars exhibition, which immerses visitors in the Red Planet.

MIT Museum, 314 Main St., Cambridge | $0-$18
Unleash your curiosity with collections exploring holography, technology-related artworks, and the history of MIT.

What did we miss? If you know a local museum that’s not on the list, let us know using this survey.

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