Opening Our Doors Returns with Free Museum Admission

This Columbus Day, visit the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and more, for free.

Opening Our Doors Museum of Fine Arts

Photo of the Museum of Fine Arts by Tony Rinaldo

Rather than lounging around this Columbus Day, head out to one of the fine museums Boston has to offer—many of which will be free to the public for the cultural initiative known as Opening Our Doors.

More than 20 Boston museums, which make up the arts consortium Fenway Alliance, are offering free admission and holding special interactive activities throughout the day for the public to enjoy.

The annual festival kicks off at First Church of Christ Scientist and Mary Baker Eddy Library, where the whole family can enjoy musical performances and even a New-Orleans style parade. From there, hop on a free trolley that will provide transit to various indoor and outdoor art installations and museums.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is another one of the art institutions participating on Monday. The theme for the day is “Pulling Threads,” featuring different textile projects children and families can work on, such as creating individual woven cards and communal tapestry art. Other highlights include a fashion showcase and musical performances accompanying some of the art.

The Museum of Fine Arts will also be opening its doors to the public for its Fall Open House. Because October is Hispanic Heritage Month, the museum is honoring the work of Hispanic artists, including Colombian-American painter Natalia Arbelaez, who will be conducting talks with visitors throughout the day. The MFA will also host salsa dance sessions and live music from a youth Latina band.

In addition to the individual museum offerings, the day will also feature walking tours along the Back Bay Fens and indoor kite flying sessions at the Huntington Avenue YMCA.

The whole Opening Our Doors endeavor is an effort to get the community engaged with the great cultural institutions in the Fenway neighborhood. “We believe it is important not just to exhibit art and open the doors of Fenway’s concert halls for complimentary performances, but to encourage people to create new art and participate actively in a cultural experience,” Fenway Alliance writes in its 2018 brochure.

For a full schedule of museum events this Monday, check out