Visit the MFA in Boston for Bank of America’s Museum on Us Weekend

Posted by Tara, Ziptivity’s Metro Boston Community Ambassador


It’s the beginning of a new month, and my fellow Bank of America cardholders know what that means: it’s “Museums on Us” weekend! This Saturday and Sunday, your Bank of America card (along with a photo ID) is your free pass to the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Harvard Museum of Natural History, and deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum. I love the latter two museums, but this weekend, I recommend visiting the MFA in Boston.

Why the MFA?

  1. You will save twenty bucks per adult by taking advantage of the Museums on Us program. That’s really something!
  2. The weather is looking iffy for the weekend. The MFA is the kind of place where you can spend the whole day, in one place, indoors.
  3. You gotta see the place since they spiffed it up. It is truly spectacular!

When you have little kids, visiting an art museum may not seem like such a good idea. But the MFA goes to great lengths to create a family-friendly experience:

  • On the weekends, you can visit the Family Art Cart in the Shapiro Family Courtyard and pick up sketchbooks, Art Cards, and other fun activities for adults and kids to do together in the galleries. (Note: the Art Cart activities are intended for ages 4 and up.)
  • You can take strollers into most of the galleries. No baby backpacks, though. (I guess they don’t want people bumping into precious artifacts with those giant backpacks – whoops, there went a 2,000-year old bowl!)
  • Tummies grumbling? The food is very good, and reasonably priced. Downstairs in the Garden Cafeteria, there is a whole smorgasboard of options for families– even baby food! If your kids are a little older and can handle a more refined dining atmosphere, I recommend one of the higher-level (literally) museum dining establishments. Lunching at the New American Café in the open and airy Shapiro Family Courtyard looks very appealing, especially if you want to see and be seen. There is also a quiet, private nursing room off of the Hemicycle Gallery.

Before you go, check out the MFA’s tips for visiting with kids. It’s a good idea to choose a few areas to focus on, and learn some background before you get there (you know, school field-trip style). You can download activity sheets before you go, or pick them up in the Visitor’s Center when you get there. The art of Ancient Egypt is always a big hit with the kids. The mummy case display that looks like a giant Russian nesting doll is my kids’ favorite. If your child has started learning about American History in school, I highly recommend the new Art of the Americas wing, the art of the American Revolution in particular. Actually seeing the arts and crafts of the period really helps bring the history to life. To enrich your kids’ experience, check out the National Museum of American History’s interactive online activities before or after your visit to the MFA.

Finally, a word of advice: Follow your kid’s lead. If she wants to spend an hour in the musical instruments exhibit, go ahead. You can see the other exhibits during another visit. If he’s showing signs of culture overload, take a break. (The museum store is always a nice diversion.) If the day at the museum is relaxed and fun, you will all look forward to future visits.

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