On July 4, 1876, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston opened its doors to the public. Built on Copley Square, the Museum of Fine Arts housed 5,600 works of art at the time. Over the next few years, the collection and visitor numbers grew exponentially, and in 1909 the Boston Museum moved to its current home on Huntington Avenue.
Today, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston is one of the most comprehensive art museums in the world; the collection covers approximately 450,000 works of art. More than a million people visit the museum each year to experience art from ancient Egyptian to contemporary, international artists, special exhibitions, and innovative educational programs.
Today, the Boston Museum exhibits more than 1 million works by masters of fine and applied art. The institution owes its huge collection to the entrepreneurs and scientists of the city; it was they who bought and brought interesting works here. Within the walls of the museum, there is a unique collection of paintings by Millet, canvases by Claude Monet, and other equally famous artists.
In Boston Museum, you can see world-famous paintings by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Cassatt, as well as the finest group of Coins outside of Paris and one of the richest collections of prints and drawings in the world, sharing space with mummies, sculpture, pottery and gold from ancient Egypt, Greece, the Middle East and the Roman Empire, as well as masterpieces of African and Oceanic art from the 16th to the 20th centuries.
In the mid-2000s, the Boston Museum made significant efforts to renovate and expand its facilities. In a seven-year fundraising campaign between 2001 and 2008 for the new wing, endowments, and operating expenses, the Boston Museum managed to raise more than US$500 million and acquired more than $160 million in art. During the global financial crisis between 2007 and 2012, the museum’s budget was cut by 1.5 million. The museum increased revenue by hosting traveling exhibits, including a loan exhibit sent to the commercial Bellagio in Las Vegas in exchange for $1 million. In 2011, Moody’s Investors Service estimated that the museum had more than $180 million in debt. However, the agency cited growing attendance, a large endowment and positive cash flow as reasons to believe the museum’s finances will become stable in the near future.
The Boston Museum has one of the most comprehensive collections in the world, with materials from a wide variety of artistic movements and cultures. The museum maintains one of the largest online databases in the world, with information on more than 346,000 objects from its collection, accompanied by digitized images.
In 2017, the Boston Museum and UNIQLO USA announced a 10-year partnership that will support a variety of new programs highlighting Japanese art and culture. The museum’s ties to Japan date back to 1890, when it became the first museum in America to establish a Japanese collection and appoint a curator specializing in Japanese art, promoting the principles of global art.
Don’t miss upcoming exhibitions at one of the world’s best museums. Below you will find a short calendar of the museum exhibitions.
Digital Iridescence: Jell-O in New Media
October 28, 2023–March 24, 2024
At the museum exhibition, five contemporary artists use gelatin in video works to explore themes such as embodiment and perception, distortion, and playing with observation and seeing. Each artist mobilizes emotional and sensory potential to address sacred social constructs of health, beauty, consumption, metamorphosis, performance, and ritual.
Creative Spaces: The Photographer’s Studio as Inspiration
November 12, 2023–April 28, 2024
A photographer’s studio is a creative laboratory, a physical and psychological space for meditation, artistic collaboration, and experimentation. This exhibition invites visitors to step into these rooms and see approximately 30 photographs from the 20th and 21st centuries that document the photographers’ rarely visited studios.
The museum exhibition explores the studio as a place of solitary invention for some photographers, and for others as a space activated by the presence of their subjects – be they children, backdrops, props, animals, or simply light.
Hallyu! The Korean Wave
March 24–July 28, 2024
From K-pop costumes to props and posters, from photography and sculpture to fashion and video, immerse yourself in the phenomenon known as Hallyu, which means the Korean Wave. Hallyu became a sensation in the late 1990s, spreading across Asia and then reaching every corner of the world and challenging the tide of contemporary global art and culture.
This museum exhibition explores the rise of the Korean Wave through film, drama, music and fandom, and highlights its influence on the beauty and fashion industries.
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