The MFA, Gardner Museum, and ICA Are Free for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Boston's cultural institutions are honoring Dr. King's legacy with special programming.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Photo by Lloyd Mallison

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. day in Boston, various cultural institutions are having free days, as well as offering special programming in honor of the civil rights icon. The city of Boston will also be honoring Dr. King with a special program from 10:30 a.m.-noon at Boston University, with performances by Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras and a speech from Leslie E. Harris, former associate justice for the Suffolk Juvenile Court. The programming is presented with the Museum of African American History in Boston. Metcalf Hall, Boston University, 775 Commonwealth Ave., boston.gov.

The Museum of Fine Arts will be offering free admission for the day, as well as events and things to do at the museum all day long, including free concerts, a community art project that all can participate in, a scavenger hunt and remarks from Mayor Walsh. The MFA is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 465 Huntington Ave., mfa.org.

Over at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, admission will also be free. Guests can learn about decades of African American cultural history in the city of Boston, contribute to care packages for a nonprofit supporting victims of domestic violence, enjoy dance performances, and listen to audio of Dr. King’s speeches, which will be played during the day throughout the museum. Programming begins at 11 a.m, which is also when free admission to the Gardner begins. Guests will be invited in at half hour intervals to keep the numbers under control, with the final entrance occurring at 4 p.m. 25 Evans Way, gardnermuseum.org.

If modern art is more your thing, head over to the Institute of Contemporary Art, where admission will also be free for the day. Guests can enjoy exhibits including photography from Nicholas Nixon, a Boston-based artist, a video installation from Steve McQueen, director of 12 Years a Slave, and Hito Steyerl’s “video sculpture.” The museum is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 25 Harbor Shore Drive, icaboston.org.


Lisa Weidenfeld Senior Digital Editor at Boston Magazine lweidenfeld@bostonmagazine.com