Fenway Alliance Hosts the 15th Annual Opening Our Doors Event

Free events abound at the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and more.

Opening Our Doors

Photo Provided

Musical melodies, colorful canvases, and free access to the Fenway’s cultural district are only a few of the reasons to celebrate Columbus Day in one of Boston’s most iconic neighborhoods come Monday.

The Fenway Alliance celebrates their 15th year of offering a free day of cultural experiences through the Opening Our Doors event. “It’s a natural way for these wonderful, cultural, and academic institutions to give back to the city and our local community,” says Kelly Brilliant, executive director of Fenway Alliance.

This year, attendees will have access to more than 10 different open houses taking place at venues like the Museum of Fine Arts and Christian Science Church. Opening Our Doors will kick off at 10:30 a.m. on the Christian Science Plaza with a parade and free cupcakes.

The family-oriented day allows guests to take advantage of not only free admission to museums, but also concert performances from the Boston Pops, Berklee College of Music, and more. Hands-on activities are available for children throughout the day as well.

“We make a lot of the artistic and cultural activities interactive so that kids are actually participating, whether it’s a dance, or music, or painting activities,” Brilliant explains.

The alliance, made of 21 different cultural institutions from around Fenway, works to “create and sustain a vibrant cultural area in Boston that attracts local residents, citizens throughout the Commonwealth, and national and international tourists and visitors,” according to their mission statement. Organizations partnered with the Alliance are all academic, cultural, or community-based.

While there are plenty of events to choose from, here are a few of our picks.

museum of fine arts

Photo by Alex Lau

Free Day at the Museum of Fine Arts

Of course the MFA will take part in the fun, hosting an open house on Monday. Model the master Hans Hofmann and his painting “Swap Series II – Autumnal Glory” to experiment with paint layering, canvas, and palette knives to create your own beautiful fall masterpiece. You can also see a little comedy, as storytellers Tony Toledo and KR Glickman combine sign language and voice interpretation in “Unseen Borders: Stories in Sign and Voice,” in which they tell multigenerational folktales from Italy, Finland, and more.

10 a.m.-5 p.m., Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., 617-267-9300, mfa.org.

Indoor Kite Flying with Archie Stewart

Ever flown a kite indoors? Here’s your chance. You’ll be able to take some design tips from professional kite flyers before creating a kite of your own. Confused about how that’ll work? Professional kite flyer Archie Stewart explains: “Indoor kiting is possible by controlling light-weight kites through the air without the use of fans.” Stewart has performed many kite-making workshops in schools and community centers. Kite making will be free to the first 100 visitors. National and international kite flyers will perform ballets as well.

11 a.m.-3 p.m., YMCA of Greater Boston, 316 Huntington Ave., 617-536-7800, ymcaboston.org.


Courtesy Photo

Free Day at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Gardens and galleries await you at the Gardner Museum. The museum will focus their events Monday around the new Beyond Words: Italian Renaissance Books exhibit that’s open through January 16. Visitors can join conservator Jana Dambrogio for interactive letter-writing activities by writing, folding, and sealing letters inspired by those found in the museum’s collection and archives. Other festivities including an Afro-Brazilian drum troupe and a hip-hop fitness class in Evans Park at at 11 a.m.

10 a.m.-5 p.m., Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 25 Evans Way, 617-566-1401, gardnermuseum.org.

Diablo Glass School

Join the Diablo Glass School as they demonstrate glass blowing with their mobile furnace. You can watch them work with material that’s more than 2,000 degrees. “We will be there right about four or five in the morning and light up the furnace,” Sean Clarke, owner of Diablo Glass School, says. “It takes a number of hours to come up to temperature.” The master glassblowers will walk the audience through the process in demonstrations held all day.

Christian Science Plaza, 250 Mass. Ave.


Courtesy Photo


Free Day at the Mary Baker Eddy Library and Mapparium

Don’t forget to sneak a peak at this hidden wonder while you’re exploring the cultural depths of Fenway. The Mapparium, tucked away in the Mary Baker Eddy Library, encapsulates the world as it was in 1934 through a stained glass display. The three-story-tall glass globe was designed by Boston architect Chester Lindsay Churchill, who modeled her design after Raymond Hood’s skyscraper in New York. Churchill wanted her design to be bigger and better than Hood’s 12-foot-diameter solid globe. Keeping the transparency and global perspective, Churchill decided to make her design completely from glass.

The Mary Baker Eddy Library, 200 Massachusetts Ave., 617-450-7000, marybakereddylibrary.org.


Check out the Opening Our Doors program for a full schedule of events.