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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Free museums in Boston to visit on your downtime

Colin Tsuboi
Outside the Museum of Fine Arts, which UMass Boston students can visit for free. Photo by Colin Tsuboi / Mass Media Staff.

Engaging with art is one of the best things a person can do for their mind. Interacting with art gives viewers a look into someone else’s life, perspective and experiences, and in their own lives, it can promote imagination and creativity. Art can challenge its audience, make viewers question themselves and the world around them, and make them feel. It even gives viewers a look into the past, allowing them to understand wars, everyday life and historical events in a way that plain history might not. 

For many people, how to interact with art is the challenge. A lot of thoughts come up. Where does one go to see art? Aren’t museums expensive? Why did they paint a canvas one color and become famous? And yes, some museums do carry pricey admission fees, and yes some of the art might not make sense, but these are all things that can be worked around. 

Here in Boston, there are dozens of museums and galleries that can be visited for free! College isn’t always a fun time, but there is one benefit: the student discounts. Either through student access, free admission events or just being free, there are plenty of places interested parties can visit for free to get their fill of art and maybe see the world a little differently. 

The first, and arguably best, free gallery to visit in Boston is UMass Boston’s very own! Down the hall to the left of the elevators in Room 1220 of University Hall stands the University Hall Gallery. The current exhibition “RPM: Room to Breathe” runs until Oct. 28. 

The gallery can be visited Monday through Saturday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. absolutely free! More information on the gallery can be found on UMass Boston’s website and in last week’s article, “Experience ‘RPM: Room to Breathe’ at the University Hall Gallery,” written by Rena Weafer on The Mass Media website.

Next to UMass Boston’s gallery, three of Boston’s most iconic museums offer free admission for UMass Boston students. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts and The Institute of Contemporary Art all partnered with UMass Boston to offer free admission to students. The Museum of Fine Arts is free for all students with a UMass Boston ID. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum offers free admission for students enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts that have a special ISGM sticker on their IDs. Both of these museums can be reached by walking from the Museum of Fine Arts station on the Green Line. The Institute of Contemporary Art offers free admission for students enrolled in an art course and with the correlating ICA sticker. The ICA is about a 20 minute walk from South Station on the Red Line, or a five minute walk from the Silver Line’s Courthouse stop.

Both the ISGM and ICA stickers can be procured for free from a member of the Art Department. Faculty of the Art Department or the Art Department Office can be found on the fourth floor of University Hall. Each of these museums offer a variety of artwork and exhibitions. More information on how to get tickets and what times you can visit can be found on UMass Boston’s website by going to the Art Department’s web page and scrolling down to “Museum Partnerships.”

For anyone who is not quite as art minded but enjoys history, Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology may be the place for you. This museum is not art based and instead features an impressive collection of anthropological materials from across the world. Anthropology, meaning the study of humanity, and ethnology—the study of different people and the relationships between them—indicate that this museum is centered around human culture. The anthropological materials it features include artifacts from different cultures like sculptures, pottery, tools, clothing and dozens of other objects. 

The Peabody Museum is currently running several different exhibitions, all of which can be learned about on the museum’s website. UMass Boston’s website states that Harvard Museums are “normally free when you present your UMass Boston ID,” however, Peabody’s website states that it would cost $10. But don’t fear, because the museum offers free admission to all Massachusetts residents with an ID from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Sundays, and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays. The museum is also free for any Massachusetts resident and up to five guests that present an EBT or WIC card. 

Harvard also has several other museums open to the public, including three other natural science museums, which you can learn about on the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture website. Additionally, there are the Harvard Art Museums–just outside of the Red Line’s Harvard Square stop–which are free to all visitors all the time. 

For anyone searching for a more lowkey way to spend their afternoon, any of the numerous art galleries on Newbury Street might do the trick. The Krakow-Witkin Gallery, located on Newbury Street, is free to visit Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. They are currently running three exhibitions through Oct. 14 and will pick back up with a new array in November. This gallery is reachable by walking from Copley station on the Green Line. Information about the current and future exhibitions are available on their website. 

All in all, Boston is a city rich with art and history. There is a lot that can be learned from any of these museums, and remember to keep an eye out on museums that do charge for admission—many of them have free admission days weekly or monthly! 

About the Contributor
Colin Tsuboi, Photographer