Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is one of the largest museums in the United States. Founded in 1870, the museum moved to its current location in 1909. The museum is affiliated with the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts.

It has more than 450,000 works of art, some highlights of the collection include:

  • Egyptian Artifacts
  • French impressionist and post-impressionist Art
  • Chinese painting, calligraphy and imperial Chinese Art
  • Japanese works, including 5,000 pieces of Japanese Pottery
  • The Rothschild Collection – over 130 objects from the Austrian branch of the family.
  • 18th and 19th-century American Art
  • The Library Collection house 320,000 items.

Highlights of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

History of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The Museum of Fine Arts was founded in 1870 and opened in 1876, with most of its first collection taken from the Boston Athenæum Art Gallery. The museum was originally located in a highly ornamented brick Gothic Revival building in Copley Square. In 1907, plans were laid to build a new home for the museum on Huntington Avenue in Boston’s Fenway-Kenmore neighbourhood. Museum trustees decided to create a design for a museum that could be built in stages, as funding was obtained for each phase. The first section of the neoclassical design was a 500-foot (150 m) façade of granite and a grand rotunda.

The second phase of construction built a wing along The Fens to house paintings galleries. It opened in 1915 and from 1916 through 1925, the artist John Singer Sargent painted the frescoes that adorn the rotunda and the associated colonnades. Numerous additions enlarged the building throughout the years, including the Decorative Arts wing in 1928 and the Garden Court and Terrace in 1997. The West Wing opened in 1981 which now houses the museum’s café, restaurant, meeting rooms, classrooms, and bookstore, as well as large exhibition spaces. A new Art of the Americas Wing opened in 2010 and in 2015, the museum renovated its Japanese garden, using traditional Japanese carpentry techniques.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

  • Name:                   Museum of Fine Arts
  • City:                       Boston
  • Established:        1870
  • Type:                     Art Museum
  • Collection size   450,000 objects
  • Visitors                 Over 1.3 million per year
  • Location:             465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA
  • Public transit access
    • Green Line (E Branch)
    • Orange Line – Ruggles
    • Franklin Line – Ruggles
    • Providence/Stoughton Line- Ruggles

Explore Boston’s Museums

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Map


“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
– Benjamin Franklin


Photo Credit: By Sculpted by Cyrus E. Dallin; I took this photograph. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons