What to Do During Opening Our Doors 2015

Fenway Alliance is hosting its 14th annual neighborhood arts celebration on Columbus Day, with free admission to the Mapparium, MFA, Gardner, and more.

opening our doors 2015 fenway

Boston Children’s Chorus will perform at the kick-off celebration for Opening Our Doors / Photo provided

On Monday, October 12, the Fenway Alliance is hosting its 14th annual Opening Our Doors celebration, providing free access to the myriad of cultural destinations located within the neighborhood.

Coinciding with Columbus Day, when Boston Public Schools have the day off, Opening Our Doors offers an opportunity for the whole family to enjoy a fun, free outing. Activities will take place throughout the day, and trolleys will provide transportation throughout the neighborhood, making stops at the Christian Science Plaza, MFA, MassArt, Wheelock Family Theatre, and Boston Conservatory/Massachusetts Historical Society.

Here are a few things to check out:

Kick-Off Celebration

The Avenue of the Arts (Huntington Avenue) and Avenue of Music (Massachusetts Avenue) intersect at the Christian Science Plaza, making it the ideal place to commence festivities. Boston Children’s Chorus will perform, and the Hot Tamale Brass Band and Lindy Bomb Squad will lead an annual kids’ parade. Danielle Legros Georges, the city’s Poet Laureate, will hold a special recitation, and Oakleaf Cakes will hand out free cupcakes. The kick-off celebration takes place from 10 to 11 a.m., but if you get there early enough, you can also catch a chiming concert from 9:30 to 10 a.m. by the Reflecting Pool.

Open Houses

Following tradition, cultural institutions in the Fenway neighborhood will welcome visitors for free during the Opening Our Doors celebration. The Mary Baker Eddy Library invites the public to step back in time, recreating May 31, 1935, the day its Mapparium first opened 80 years ago. Daniel Berger-Jones from Cambridge Historical Tours will play architect Chester Lindsay Churchill and host the “grand opening” of his stained-glass globe. Visitors are encouraged—but not required—to dress in 1930s-inspired attire.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is opening an hour early, offering family-friendly activities—including large-scale puzzles featuring images from the collection—as well as live classical and jazz performances.

At the nearby Museum of Fine Arts, new director Matthew Teitelbaum will address the public for the first time, and Sonya Clark, featured in the exhibition “Crafted: Objects in Flux,” will invite local stylist Kathy Montrevil to arrange her hair while taking inspiration from a sculpture in the African collection.

Other Fenway institutions hosting open houses include the First Church of Christ, Scientist, the Christian Science Reading Room, Massachusetts Historical Society, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, Fenway Studios, the Bakalar and Paine Galleries at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Gallery 360 at Northeastern University, and Bristol Recording and Voice Studios.


Stop by the Emerald Necklace Conservancy‘s Shattuck Visitor Center to embark on a guided walking tour of hidden gems inside the Fens or borrow a bird discovery kit, which comes with binoculars, identification cards, and guides. Looking for something a little more zen? Head to Evans Way Park, where Vanessa Martinez and Jaylee Oberg will teach a power yoga class at 10 a.m. Then, stay for a Chinese martial arts performance by students from the Bow Sim Mark Tai Chi Arts Association.


If your little ones get inspired by watching the Boston Children’s Chorus performance at the kick-off ceremony, they can board the Beat Bus, a music workshop on wheels that will park in Evans Way Park from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Or, head to the Wheelock Family Theatre, where Boston Lyric Opera will host a family-friendly performance from 1 to 2 p.m.


Opening Our Doors 2015 takes place on Monday, October 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the Fenway neighborhood. For a full list of activities, view the full program here.