66 Spectacular Free Fun Fridays in Boston and Massachusetts

This summer, dozens of museums and other cultural institutions in Boston and Massachusetts will offer free admission for Free Fun Fridays hosted by the Highland Street Foundation.

free fun fridays boston ma 2014

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is one of dozens of museums taking part in Highland Street Foundation’s Free Fun Fridays this year. / Photo by Alex Lau

When it comes to arts and culture in Boston, the Highland Street Foundation is quite the hero. Throughout the past 25 years, the organization has given out some $150 million to more than 900 nonprofits, says executive director Blake Jordan. And after swooping in and saving First Night last year, they’re happy to be bringing back for summer 2014 their overwhelmingly popular Free Fun Fridays series.

Last year, Highland Street doled out some $650,000 for 60 arts and culture institutions in Boston and Massachusetts to hold free days on various Fridays throughout the summer. This year, the foundation has arranged 66 free days, with new partners including Historic Deerfield, Falmouth Museums on the Green, and the Griffin Photography Museum.

Developing each year’s list takes some time. “[The process] starts in December,” explains Jordan. “We review all our previous participants, and usually everyone wants to come back. Then we try to see who else we haven’t worked with yet. Some reach out to us… There are so many attractions in the state—for example, there were some in Western Mass. and the Berkshires that we hadn’t even thought of.”

Growth and turnout for Free Fun Fridays has been impressive. Now entering its sixth year, the number of participants in Free Fun Fridays has multiplied six-fold, expanding from 10 museums in 2009, to 26, to 36, to 50, to 60 cultural institutions in 2013.

“Last year, 165,000 people came out for 60 events, and this year we’re hoping for 200,000,” says Jordan. “The events are great for children during the summer since they’re not in school. It’s a great opportunity for them to continue their education. We’ve seen a lot of youth groups, senior citizen groups, and veteran groups come out. And we’ve heard from families where a parent lost his job, and Free Fun Fridays was their family vacation. The feedback has been unbelievable—I could count on one hand the number of problems we’ve had as far as people complaining about things like long lines, but generally no one complains because it’s all free.”

And really, what is there complain about 66 free fun Friday activities? Just imagine, every week for 10 weeks this summer, you’ll have a new set of places to take the kids, check out with your buddies, or just straggle into by yourself. If someone were ambitious enough to attend all 66 events, he or she will have saved $600 to $700 in admission fees (not to mention accrued plenty of mileage).

Now, without further ado, here are all 66 of the Free Fun Fridays scheduled for summer 2014:

FRIDAY, JUNE 27, 2014

Franklin Park Zoo
Cape Cod Maritime Museum
Worcester Art Museum
Tanglewood
The Sports Museum
Mass MoCA
MIT Museum

FRIDAY, JULY 4, 2014

Heritage Museums & Gardens
Edward Gorey House
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival
Amelia Park Children’s Museum
Falmouth Museums on the Green

FRIDAY, JULY 11, 2014

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum
Peabody Essex Museum
Worcester Historical Museum
Fruitlands Museum
Cape Cod Children’s Museum
New England Historical Genealogical Society
Pilgrim Hall Museum

FRIDAY, JULY 18, 2014

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Ocean Explorium
The Eric Carle Museum
Larz Anderson Auto Museum
Springfield Museums
Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center
Sandwich Glass Museum

FRIDAY, JULY 25, 2014

The Freedom Trail Foundation
Battleship Cove
Children’s Museum in Easton
Tower Hill Botanic Garden
Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
Cape Cod Museum of Art
Danforth Art

FRIDAY, AUGUST 1, 2014

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
American Textile History Museum
The Discovery Museums
Hancock Shaker Village
Concord Museum
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

FRIDAY, AUGUST 8, 2014

Boston Harbor Islands National Park
Clark Art Institute
Wenham Museum
USS Constitution Museum
Children’s Museum at Holyoke
Volleyball Hall of Fame
Fuller Craft Museum

FRIDAY, AUGUST 15, 2014

The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston
Plimoth Plantation
Garden in the Woods
Museum of Russian Icons
Fitchburg Art Museum
Historic Deerfield
Reagle Music Theatre

FRIDAY, AUGUST 22, 2014

Boston Children’s Museum
Museum of African American History
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Old Manse, Trustees of Reservations
Berkshire Museum
Emily Dickinson Museum

FRIDAY, AUGUST 29, 2014

Buttonwood Park Zoo
EcoTarium
Cape Cod Museum of Natural History
Norman Rockwell Museum
The Mount: Edith Wharton’s Home
Griffin Photography Museum

 

For details on each free day, visit highlandstreet.org/freefunfridays. (Printable PDF here.)

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