A guide to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Published: Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 1, 2013 16:09
As an incoming Tufts student, you’re likely looking forward to having access to all that Boston has to offer. With the excitement of orientation and starting classes, it’s easy to forget that we have the entire city in our backyard. One of the greatest opportunities that all students should take advantage of is access to the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston.
With a Tufts ID, students can visit the museum for free (as opposed to the typical $23 entrance fee) and attend film showings for just $5. Each admission ticket includes free, guided museum tours and gallery talks. The MFA is open seven days a week, ideal for scheduling a trip during free time on weekends or after classes.
Tufts has a unique dual-degree, five-year Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts program in conjunction with the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA), Boston. A shuttle runs Monday through Friday from the Aidekman Arts Center on the Medford/Somerville campus to the SMFA, which is conveniently located right next to the MFA. With the shuttle schedule available on the Tufts Administrative Services website, any student can visit the MFA without having to navigate public transportation.
Since the shuttle only runs on weekdays, a weekend trip to the MFA would require a subway trip into the city. Starting from Davis Square, students should take the Red Line inbound to Park Street. At Park Street, transfer to the E train on the Green Line towards Heath Street Medical Center, and get off at the MFA stop right after Northeastern. The trip takes about 50 minutes in total but is definitely worth the time; a visit to the MFA is a great way to learn how to use the T or to explore different neighborhoods near the museum like Back Bay.
Once you arrive at the museum, there is so much to explore. Two must-see rooms are the temporary exhibitions in the Gund Gallery and the Torf Gallery. For instance, from now through November, the Torf Gallery has a colorful fashion exhibit called “Hippie Chic” that highlights the style of the Woodstock generation and includes over 54 psychedelic ensembles. Because these galleries usually change every few months, it’s a good idea to check the MFA website for information before visiting.
Another highlight includes the newly renovated Art of the Americas Wing, which contains 53 galleries across four floors and more than 5,000 works ranging from the pre-Columbian era through the third quarter of the 20th century. The rooms progress chronologically from the ground level to the top floor, making it easy to navigate the wing.
The revamped Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art is another notable section of the MFA. The museum’s Department of Contemporary Art was established in 1971, and since 1992 it has focused on showcasing works from 1955 onward. With work by artists including El Anatsui, Jenny Holzer, Kara Walker and Andy Warhol, there is never a dull moment in this part of the museum.
The Contemporary Wing is also home to Remis Auditorium, the main museum bookstore and a small cafe. Remis hosts movie screenings and film festivals throughout the year, to which students can buy tickets ahead of time by checking the film program online. This summer, the MFA held its 18th Annual Boston French Film Festival, where it screened some of the best French films of the past year. This November, the MFA will host its 25th Annual Boston Jewish Film Festival to showcase some of the world’s most innovative Jewish-themed films. The movies at the MFA are sure to entertain any movie buff who wants to try something more adventurous than a typical trip to Dave’s Fresh Pasta or J.P. Licks.
Other noteworthy aspects of the museum include the impressionist collection in Art of Europe and the Art of the Ancient World collection, which includes an extensive set of Egyptian art and mummies, along with precious Greek and Roman artifacts.
Though it may seem daunting at first, by utilizing the museum’s website for current information and Tufts resources for transportation, visiting the MFA can be a worthwhile trip for any student. Whether you’re a serious art scholar or just looking to be exposed to the best of Boston, the MFA is an incredible experience for those who choose to take advantage of it.