60 Awesome Free Fun Fridays

Here's your field trip schedule for the summer in Massachusetts.

By | Arts & Entertainment |
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MFA Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Five years ago, the Highland Street Foundation had a crazy, brilliant idea: Instead of writing a check for the standard cultural institution fare—pricey art, fancy new wing, renovations, etc.—why not try to expand the reach of those museums and zoos by opening them up to the general public, for free?

That year, Highland Street underwrote the costs for a “Free Fun Friday“ at 10 area institutions, including the Franklin Park Zoo, Peabody Essex Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts. About 60,000 people showed up, proving that there was a major appetite for art and culture in Massachusetts—especially if it’s free.

This year, Highland Street is giving out a total of $650,000 in grants to open up 60 venues across the state for one Friday. New additions such as Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket and the Ocean Explorium in New Bedford will join standbys such as the Plimoth Plantation, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Stone Zoo (check out the full 10-week schedule below).

The institutions, thankfully, aren’t just in Boston, but spread out all over the state. So no excuses about having to drive into the city and worry about parking—there’s probably an event close by.

“Sometimes, it’s the thing in your own backyard that you’ve never gone to,” says Blake Jordan, the executive director of HSF. “We get a lot of emails from people who drive past places every day and have never taken the time to stop in. Summer’s a great time to do this and get out and learn.”

Here are all 60 Free Fun Friday events scheduled for this summer:

Friday, June 28, 2013
Freedom Trail Foundation (Boston)
Mass MoCA (North Adams)
Stone Zoo (Stoneham)
Worcester Art Museum (Worcester)
Heritage Museums & Gardens (Sandwich)
Tanglewood (Lenox)

Friday, July 05, 2013
Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center (Mattapan)
Cape Cod Museum of Art (Dennis)
Martha’s Vineyard Museum (Edgartown)
Children’s Museum at Holyoke (Holyoke)
Volleyball Hall of Fame (Holyoke)
Peabody Essex Museum (Salem)

Friday, July 12, 2013
Museum of Fine Arts (Boston)
Larz Anderson Auto Museum (Brookline)
Cape Cod Children’s Museum (Mashpee)
Pilgrim Hall Museum (Plymouth)
Museum of Russian Icons (Clinton)
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (Becket)

Friday, July 19, 2013
JFK Library & Museum (Boston)
Reagle Music Theatre (Waltham)
Buttonwood Park Zoo (New Bedford)
Danforth Art (Framingham)
Hancock Shaker Village (Pittsfield)
Garden in the Woods (Framingham)

Friday, July 26, 2013
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (Boston)
New England Historic Genealogical Society (Boston)
American Textile History Museum (Lowell)
Children’s Museum in Easton (North Easton)
Amelia Park Children’s Museum (Westfield)
Higgins Armory Museum (Worcester)

Friday, August 02, 2013
Boston Children’s Museum (Boston)
Franklin Park Zoo (Dorchester)
Arnold Arboretum (Boston)
Fuller Craft Museum (Brockton)
Wenham Museum (Wenham)
The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center (Great Barrington)

Friday, August 09, 2013
Boston Harbor Island Alliance (Boston)
The Sports Museum (Boston)
Battleship Cove (Fall River)
Ocean Explorium (New Bedford)
The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History (Brewster)
The Eric Carle Museum (Amherst)

Friday, August 16, 2013
The Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston)
USS Constitution Museum (Charlestown)
Concord Museum (Concord)
Edward Gorey House (Yarmouth Port)
Springfield Museums (Springfield)
Berkshire Museum (Pittsfield)

Friday, August 23, 2013
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston)
Museum of African American History (Boston/Nantucket)
New Bedford Whaling Museum (New Bedford)
Fitchburg Art Museum (Fitchburg)
Fruitlands Museum (Harvard)
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (Williamstown)

Friday, August 30, 2013
Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth)
The Discovery Museums (Acton)
New Repertory Theatre (Watertown)
EcoTarium (Worcester)
Norman Rockwell Museum (Stockbridge)
The Mount: Edith Wharton’s Home (Lenox)

For more info about Free Fun Fridays, including details on each of these venues, check out highlandstreet.org/freefunfridays.

Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/arts-entertainment/blog/2013/05/20/60-awesome-free-museum-fridays-boston-ma/