Art, City

Taking Advantage of Boston’s Art Scene

Whether you are an art connoisseur or not, Boston’s art museums are a must see. Beautiful exhibitions are scattered all throughout the city and admission is free or discounted for all of them if you are an Emerson student! Here is a quick look at some of the great things these museums have to offer:

Museum of Fine Arts

Admission: Free with your Emerson ID

Must see: Egyptian Art Exhibit

One piece of advice: Plan to spend an entire day at the MFA…maybe even two. The MFA is the most classic museum experience on this list, showcasing a wide variety of artistic styles and classic paintings from different time periods. This museum offers art collections from all across the world to really put into perspective the vast array of artistic styles that exist. There are also photography exhibits, prints, drawings, musical instruments, and jewelry scattered throughout the museum.

It can be overwhelming how much content is inside the MFA, but each room deserves as much attention as the last.

Pottery at the MFA. Credit:

For all sports fans looking for something interesting…there is an exhibition all about David Ortiz that is open from now until September 4th. Tickets must be bought to view this gallery, but anything is worth it for Big Papi, right? Ortiz’s 2013 World Series MVP ring will also be on display, so get a close look while you can!

A rainy day is best spent at the Museum of Fine Arts, or multiple rainy days in a row!


ICA – Institute of Contemporary Art

Admission: Student discount with ID

Must See: Nari Ward: Sun Splashed

The ICA is a great place for college students to explore. The exhibits are fun, modern, and sometimes interactive. Each exhibit is important to view, many often presenting social and political issues in unique mediums.

This museum really makes you think about what you are seeing and how it can be interpreted to convey a bigger message. There is also a new exhibit by Dana Schutz being put up right now, set to open July 26th…even more new art to check out!!

ICA at night. Credit:

The large glass building overlooking Boston Harbor could not be more picturesque if it tried, and you could easily spend a whole day enjoying the incredible views. Aside from the amazing art, the ICA also holds outdoor concerts every Friday in July and August. These fun outdoor events feature new DJ’s every week and certain themed events to keep things new and interesting. The ICA always keeps me guessing, and I cannot wait to see what fun thing comes out next.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Admission: Student discount with ID (or free if your name is Isabella!)

Must See: Portrait of Isabella Stewart Gardner.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is like something out of a movie. The minute you step inside the museum it feels like you are taken back in time, admiring all of the beautiful paintings and scenery. The inner courtyard is breathtaking, and visible from every angle of the museum.

What makes this museum unique is that Isabella Stewart Gardner actually used to reside in the building before it turned into a museum, and still resembles a home in many ways. The tall ceilings and wooden floors add a homey feel to the artwork which is something you do not see everyday.

I highly recommend reading up on the Gardner heist before visiting, as it adds excitement and a bit of spookiness to your visit.

A great addition to the museum is the modern wing, which is the only part of the museum with changing exhibits. Set aside from the original building, this modern room showcases beautiful artwork and sculptures to add a modern twist. Next to the modern room is also the Gardner Museum’s incredible concert hall, which must be seen in person to truly admire. Isabella Stewart Gardner had a passion for music and this hall keeps her spirit alive in a beautiful space. The concert schedule and ticket options can be found on the museum’s website.


The Museum of Bad Art

Admission: Free museum passes can be requested.

Must See: “Dog” By: Unknown

After you have admired all of the famous pieces in the previously listed places…why not lighten the mood with this fun museum?? The MOBA gallery in Somerville is a private institution that is committed to celebrating bad art. Located in the basement of a theater, it is not the most glamorous of exhibits. That being said, it is definitely a memorable experience. It is a one of a kind museum visit and every piece of art is sure to make you chuckle.

Can’t get enough of the bad art? Have no fear, there is now a book available for purchase, “The Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks,” that showcases the worst of the worst, bottom of the barrel pieces of artwork.

Some pieces imitate famous works like the Mona Lisa, and with others it can be hard to decipher what is going on at all…

Quirky and humorous, the MOBA is Boston museum fun for all ages and a great way to lighten the mood after viewing maybe one too many gorey war depictions.

I hope this master list of Boston museum’s inspires you to view some new places and some very cool art.
Campus, City

Get Cultured on a College Budget

As any college student knows, an education doesn’t come cheap! It costs a lot of money to become a well educated and interesting person. So when opportunities to get cultured for a free or reduced cost fly by, you’ve got to grab them and hold on tight. That’s why every college student in the Boston area should know about these great perks from local museums.

Museum of Fine Arts

The MFA is free with any valid student ID! They are open on Monday, Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-4:45 p.m., and Wednesday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-9:45 p.m. They have an extremely wide variety, with art from all over the world, including the Americas, Oceania, Africa, Europe and Asia. They also have Contemporary Art, photography, instruments and jewelry; as well as changing exhibitions such as visiting masterpieces like a selection of Picasso paintings there from Feb. 13th 2016 to June 26th, 2016. It even has it’s own stop on the Green Line so it’s almost impossible to get lost on the way there!

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is right next to the MFA, so you might as well hit up both the same day! And if your college participates in the program, which Emerson does, you can get in for free with your ID. They are open daily from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., and on Thursdays until 9 p.m. This museum is full of the personal collection of Ms. Gardner herself. Her collection is full of over 2,500 pieces of paintings, sculptures, rare books, etc. from the ancient Rome, Medieval Europe, Renaissance Italy and many more. It has a much more selective collection than most of these other museums, and let me tell you, it is great for if you feel like making fun of some really old looking babies. 

Harvard Art Museum

The Harvard Art Museum is $10 for non-Harvard students, a five dollar discount from their normal rate for adults. They are open daily from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. They have seemingly any and every kind of art imaginable, from Uruguayan to Roman Imperial, made from chalk to chocolate and everything in between. Also as part of such an immensely important learning institution, the museum also has a large learning component with a Art Study Center where visitors can request to see objects not on display in the galleries, as well as research centers.

New England Aquarium

The aquarium might not seem like the ideal place to get a lot of culture, but seal culture is always worth observing! Their regular price is $26.95, but for students with a valid ID it’s $24.95, which is a small discount, but every penny counts when you have a desperate desire to look at turtles. Students also get a small discount for the Simons IMAX Theater, so they can get in for only $7.95.  They have lots of great exhibits including some where you can touch the animals like the  Shark and Ray Touch Tank, and an Edge of the Sea touch tank.

Institute of Contemporary Art

The beauty of the ICA starts on the outside. It is located on the Boston Harbor at the Seaport District and has a beautiful glass wall to look over at the harbor through bleachers outside. There is free admission for universities with a membership, including Emerson! In 2015, they also held their first college night where they invited all students with a membership to come and enjoy art with a DJ, a photo booth, and free food and drinks. They are open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. The museum features large exhibitions and pieces from leading and emerging contemporary artists.

MIT Museum

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has a great museum that combines art with science. Any non-MIT college student is given $5 admission. They are open daily from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Many of their sections are things like architecture, holography, and robotics. If you love science, or could never get into traditional art, this might be the perfect place for you!

Harvard Museum of Natural History

Like the Harvard Art museum, this museum is also open to non-Harvard students for $10. It is open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. It has exhibits on animals from all over the world, Earth and planetary  sciences, marine life and even a hands-on exhibit.

Boston is full of many great museums and great discounts to take advantage of while you’re still in school.