There are plenty of reasons to sign up for one (or more) museum memberships in Boston. You could be engaging in a culturally enriching experience on your own. Perhaps you’ll want to take visiting family and friends to one of Boston’s most visited cultural institutions. Or you’ve been meaning to experience a Friday after-hours event. Read below to see how a museum membership in Boston can be the best way to experience these multifaceted institutions.
Here, we’ve selected the best museum memberships in Boston. Think of it as a Go Boston Card but with unlimited admission throughout the whole year. Best yet, many of these memberships offer complimentary guest passes which ought to please your visiting friends and family. We’ve also included some surprise spots from the city’s historical roots to its cutting-edge outdoor art.
The MFA in Boston is the city’s oldest and best-known art museum with one of the most abundant art collections in the Americas. Whether visiting the Art of the Americas Wing or the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art – you can make a great day out exploring this landmark museum. The MFA also offers Studio Art Classes and special events like on-site yoga, should you wish to engage with the museum on a deeper level. A Support Membership costs between $75 and $114 and includes daily admission and member discounts for one adult. You’ll also benefit from free or discounted tickets to a wide range of films, lectures, and concerts. Access to members-only events means invites to exhibition previews, curator talks, and family programs. Plus up to 40% off parking, 15% off dining and 10% off at all Museum shops. It’s a one-stop-shop destination for members.
Located by the Charles River, there’s a lot extra to see at The Museum of Science – a Butterfly Garden, an indoor zoo, the IMAX theatre, and the Planetarium. The museum features permanent displays on themes like electricity, rocks, and space. The rotating exhibits cover subjects like Nature’s Superheroes – “a glimpse into the diversity of the natural world”. Plus after-hours events including National Geographic Live and the Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival.
A Basic 2 Membership to the MOS is $95 with free Exhibit Halls admission for one year for up to two people. You’ll bag two Planetarium bonus passes plus access to special members-only events. Including the chance to sleepover at the museum Overnights.
The ICA Boston is a thought-provoking contemporary art museum that exhibits contemporary painting, film, photography and more. At this breathtaking waterfront setting, you can see leading contemporary artists alongside emerging artists. With the institutions free Mobile Guide you can listen to multiple audio tours. You’ll be able to hear directly from the artists and curators behind-the-scenes. Make sure to check out the First Friday Events – evenings of art, music, and activities on the first Friday of each month.
An Associate Membership is $135 with unlimited year-round admission, plus four guest passes.
You can keep up-to-date with your membership subscription to the ICA magazine. There’s plenty to see on the ICA-produced public programs. This membership offers up to 50% off programs, performances, and film screenings. As an out-of-town bonus, you’ll have free admission to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
At the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, visitors can engage with art, music, horticulture, and history. Located near the Back Bay neighborhood, the museum exhibits a diverse collection of American, Asian, and European art. Including paintings, furniture, sculpture, textiles, and ceramics. Housed in a beautiful replica of a Venetian palace, the outdoor space is not to be missed – the Courtyard has a lush garden known as a “breathing work of art”.
A friend Membership is $85 with membership benefits for two adults; plus two single-use admission passes for your family or friends. Your free museum admission for the year includes invitations to previews, events, and tours. For a deeper dive, you can also make use of the complimentary tickets to lectures and free audio guides.
A National Historic Landmark, The Paul Revere House was the colonial home of American patriot Paul Revere during the American Revolution. It’s located in the city’s North End and is treasured as a rare example of 17th-century urban architecture – a must-see if your interested in America’s cultural heritage. These historic rooms where he lived exhibit artifacts that take you back in time to 17th through the early 20th century.
Individual Membership is a bargain $20 for free annual admission, including invitations to special events. You can enjoy a 10% museum shop discount and the membership subscription to the ‘Revere House Gazette’ – the museum’s quarterly newsletter.
Located on Children’s Wharf along the Fort Point Channel, Boston Children’s Museum is a multi-sensory, hands-on environment for children. It’s also the second oldest children’s museum in the United States. Highlights include the “New Balance Climb,” which teaches kids the laws of physics while navigating a two-story-high maze. Plus, the “Science Playground,” that features giant soap bubble-making tools. The family-friendly museum also has a section for under 2s, with space to store bags and strollers.
The Big Family Membership is $160 with a maximum of four people free per visit. Plus a complimentary ‘sneak peek’ with the annual behind the scenes tour. This membership offers a 10% discount on all birthday parties, plus a 20% discount on museum shop purchases over $20 – your parties and presents covered.
An engaging and educational experience, this floating museum offers a walk-into-history experience – with a great harbor view. The historical context is the events and characters that led to the American Revolution. Through live reenactments, museum guides act in character as Boston citizens from 1773. As well as the interactive tour, visitors can view fully-restored replicas of two ships and 3D holograms. The experience isn’t complete without a spot of tea. At cozy Abigail’s Tea Room, you can try the teas du jour in 1770. Plus the five teas that were thrown overboard at the infamous Boston Tea party protest.
The Individual membership is $70 with a free Tea Tasting Experience in Abigail’s Tea Room every time you visit. Why not enjoy tea for two with the two single-use single-use companion passes? This membership comes with invites to members-only special events. Additionally, you can memorialize your visits with a 15% discount at the retail store.
There are other ways to engage with arts and culture, outside the museum. Such as these historical landmarks and public artworks that are membership-free.
The Freedom Trail is a walk-through the roots of Boston. It explores the landscape by engaging with its psychological memory. The Freedom Trail red lines through the city pass by 16 locations significant to the history of the United States. On this free walking tour, you will come across sites including ancient streets, colonial stone houses, a ship and more.
The “John Harvard” bronze sculpture by Daniel Chester French is located in Harvard Yard, Cambridge. A famous Harvard University landmark, the metal figure commemorates the institution’s first benefactor, John Harvard. It is believed that rubbing the statue’s toe will bring good luck.
“The Big Snail” is an abstract black steel sculpture with three-pointed sail-like shapes located on the MIT University campus. This outdoor sculpture by Alexander Calder is part of a series of outdoor works from MIT University’s collection. Other works include notable pieces from celebrated artists including Henry Moore and Pablo Picasso.
“Gift of the Wind” by the artist Susumu Shingu is located in Porter Square over in Cambridge. The outdoor artworks three red steel sculptures become mobile in the wind above the MBTA Red Line Station. Shingu’s wind-powered artworks are often industrial-looking but come to life in natural elements.
Boston is one of the oldest cities in the U.S. with culture, art and architecture from colonial to contemporary. This is also reflected in the city’s diverse neighborhoods. If you’re interested in high-end apartments in the best areas of Boston have a look at Blueground’s rentals. With flexible leases and move-in ready apartments, you can turn up and start living, in areas old or new. Whether you’re staying in Boston for half a year, four years or a lifetime, having a permanent address in a landmark area of Boston offers you year-round discoveries from hidden monuments to historic homes.