Summer Escapes: Stick Around

By Janelle Nanos | Boston Magazine |

Free! Museums on the Very Cheap

The Museum of Bad Art
Free: Always!  Must-See Exhibit: “Blue People” — like Smurfs, only angstier. >> 781-444-6757, museumofbadart.org

Museum of Fine Arts
Free: Wednesdays, 4 to 9:45 p.m. Must-See Exhibit: “Violet Isle,” the stunning — nay, poetic — images of Cuban life by husband-and-wife photography team Alex and Rebecca Norris Webb. >> 617-267-9300, mfa.org.

MIT Museum
Free: Sundays, 10 a.m. to noon.  Must-See Exhibit: Arthur Ganson’s “Gestural Engineering.” Possibly the most wistful collection of mechanical sculptures ever created. >> 617-253-5927, web.mit.edu/museum.

Warren Anatomical Museum at Harvard
Free: Always! Must-See Exhibit: The fractured skull of Phineas Gage, the classic trauma patient in every psych major’s intro textbook. >> 617-432-6196, countway.harvard.edu/warren.

DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
Free: Always free to bicyclists. It gets complicated from there, so consult the website. Must-See Exhibit: “Snow” by Andy Goldsworthy — the artistic warmup to his upcoming Snow House, a granite structure built for a 9-foot snowball. >> 781-259-8355, decordova.org

Arnold Arboretum
Free: Always! Must-See Exhibit: It’s tough to choose from the literal forest of specimens, but if you must, then don’t miss the collection of more than 40 different species of oak. One word: breathtaking.  >> 617-524-1718, arboretum.harvard.edu

The Harvard Museum of Natural History
Free: Sundays, 9 a.m. to noon (for Massachusetts residents). Must-See Exhibit: When you’re rained out of the Arboretum, visit the HMNH’s just-installed “New England Forests” exhibit, a multisensory immersion into our native ecosystem (moose and all). >> 617-495-3045, hmnh.harvard.edu

Fuller Craft Museum
Free: Wednesdays, 5 to 9 p.m.  Must-See Exhibit: “Furniture Divas”: a celebration of contemporary studio furniture crafted by — you guessed it — divas. >> 508-588-6000, fullercraft.org.

The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology
Free: Sundays, 9 a.m. to noon (for Massachusetts residents). Must-See Exhibit: The “Wiyohpiyata” collection of Lakota tribe imagery, enhanced with sounds, scents, and visual animations. >> 617-496-1027, peabody.harvard.edu

— Shannon Fischer