We look forward to welcoming your group to the Museum. In order to make the most of your experience, please review the information below.

Before Your Visit

Printable Checklist for the Day of Your Visit

Download the MFA School Group Visit Checklist (PDF) to help you make sure you are prepared for your experience at the MFA. See below for additional tips for your visit.

Need to Contact Us?

If your group is running late, please call Group Sales at 617-369-3310. (See late arrival policy.)

For questions or to request changes to your reservation, please contact Group Sales at groups@mfa.org or 617-369-3310.

Arrival and Transportation

Detailed information on timing, transportation and traffic, and the Group Entrance can be found in Prepare for your School Group Arrival.

Chaperones

The Museum requires one chaperone for every ten students. Groups cannot be admitted without the minimum required number of chaperones. All chaperones must be at least 18 years old and cannot be a student at your school.

Students must be accompanied by a chaperone at all times. Any students in the galleries without a chaperone will be required to return to the Group Entrance to wait for their chaperone.

Chaperones are responsible for the behavior of their groups. We recommend sharing During Your Visit with all chaperones or distributing the MFA School Group Visit Checklist (PDF) in addition to discussing your goals for the visit.

List of Students

It is MFA policy to collect a list of names of the students who are present in your group in case of an emergency. Upon arrival, please provide the MFA with a list of students’ names as well as the group coordinator’s name and phone number. We also encourage you to provide the ages and emergency contacts for each student if possible. All information provided will be kept confidential and shredded upon your group’s departure from the Museum.

Access

The MFA is wheelchair accessible. Manual wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Assistive-listening devices are available upon request. Any additional staff or chaperones attending to assist students with disabilities are admitted for free. To inform the Museum of any access needs, such as using elevators, Assistive Listening Devices, or sighted guides, contact groups@mfa.org prior to your scheduled visit. Advance notice for sighted guides for students who are blind or have low vision, ASL interpreters for students who are Deaf, or other accommodations is appreciated and will ensure we can meet the request. For further access information, please call 617-369-3189 or TTY/TDD 617-267-9703 or e-mail access@mfa.org. We will help you make all necessary arrangements.

Cancellations and Rescheduling

If for any reason you are not able to visit the Museum, please call 617-369-3310 to alert Group Sales as soon as possible. See Cancellations and Rescheduling for details and billing policies.

Inclement Weather

We realize that cancellations due to unexpected school closures may occur on short notice. If you must cancel your visit due to a school closure, please notify Group Sales as soon as possible. It is also sometimes necessary for the MFA to close unexpectedly due to inclement weather. If bad weather is expected in the Boston area on the date of your visit, please check mfa.org or call 617-267-9300 x0 to confirm whether the Museum is open to visitors for the day. Groups will not be billed for visits cancelled due to Museum closure or significant inclement weather.

Preview the Museum

You may find it helpful to visit the MFA on your own prior to your scheduled visit. On Wednesday nights after 4 pm, admission is by voluntary contribution. The Museum also offers a $30 discount on membership for teachers.

Please be mindful that the galleries change frequently and specific works on view when you preview the Museum may not be on view when your group visits. The MFA’s online Collections Search includes an option for filtering by works currently on view and is kept as up to date as possible. Opening and closing dates for temporary exhibitions can be found in Exhibitions.

You may also want to:

  • Visit MFA for Educators to see how other teachers are using our collection in their classrooms.
  • Book an Outreach Program to introduce your students to the Museum or a particular collection area in advance of your visit.
  • Participate in a free Professional Development Workshop to learn more about collections and special exhibitions.

Communications from the MFA

All groups receive an e-mail from Group Sales confirming the details of the visit once your date is secured.

As your visit approaches, groups coming for a guided tour will also be asked to respond to two e-mails:

  • Approximately three weeks prior to your visit, the Coordinator of School Group Visits will send you an e-mail asking for final confirmation of the number of students and chaperones. The e-mail will also include a link to our School Group Visit Checklist (PDF) and reconfirm the designated entrance, any lunch reservations or art making programs, and other details.
  • Approximately two weeks prior to your visit, the Gallery Instructor organizing your tour will send you an e-mail to find out more about your students, your goals, and any assignments planned. We appreciate your responding to this e-mail communication in a timely manner so we can prepare the tour with consideration of your learning goals. This e-mail will also indicate the number of groups to divide your students into before entering the Museum.

During Your Visit

Protecting Visitors and the Artwork

Students and chaperones must follow the instructions of Museum staff to ensure the safety of all visitors and objects. Please keep in mind the following policies:

  • Enjoy the Museum and be considerate. Lively discussion is encouraged. Please refrain from loud or disruptive behavior.
  • If a gallery is crowded, consider visiting another gallery and returning when it is less busy. If a gallery is at capacity, the MFA’s Protective Services staff (the Museum’s security guards) may advise a group to wait before entering. Please be mindful of this when planning for self-guided assignments at the Museum.
  • Refrain from touching any objects or their casework. Please remain at least 12 inches away from works of art and refrain from gesturing within two feet of a work of art. Visitors are not permitted to use laser pointers or flashlights.
  • Sketch or take notes using pencil only. Clipboards, sketchpads, and drawing boards (no larger than 18 x 24 inches) are all permitted. To protect the artwork and the facilities, please do not point at works of art with your pencil and do not write or sketch against the walls or cases.
  • No food, beverage, or gum is permitted in the Museum galleries.
  • Walk through the Museum. Please do not run.
  • Students must be accompanied by a chaperone at all times. Any students in the galleries without a chaperone will be required to return to the Group Entrance to wait for their chaperone. All chaperones are expected to be attentive to their group and take responsibility for the behavior of their students.

Cameras and Mobile Phones

Non-flash photography is allowed, unless posted otherwise. Please do not use your mobile phone for conversations in the galleries. At the discretion of the teacher, self-guided groups may use mobile phones or tablets for note taking, writing activities, and/or research.

MFA Bookstore and Shops

Students wishing to visit any of the MFA Shops must do so in groups of ten or fewer and must be accompanied by a chaperone. Unaccompanied student groups are not permitted in the shops. Please have one group from your school visit a shop at a time.

Restrooms and Water Fountains

There are restrooms and water fountains near the entrances and in various locations throughout the Museum. Gallery Instructors and Museum staff can direct your group to these locations.

After Your Visit

Continue the Conversation

We hope you and your students will have a meaningful visit to the MFA and continue your learning and discussion back in the classroom. Use MFA for Educators to revisit works of art and themes from your tour. We also encourage you to share photographs and stories from your visit through social media using #mfaBoston, in accordance with your school’s policies.

Feedback for the MFA

We greatly value your feedback and invite you to complete a survey about your experience. You will receive a link to the survey via e-mail the week following your tour, and upon completion, will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of three $100 gift cards to the MFA Shops and online store.

Professional Development Opportunities

Join us for Teacher Professional Development to explore ways of enlivening your classroom using Museum objects as teaching tools. Register for one of our teacher workshops on the second Wednesday of the month, 4 to 6 pm, or contact teacherresources@mfa.org to plan a customized workshop for your school or district.

Schedule Another Visit

Request a reservation for another visit this year, or plan ahead for next year! See School Visit Options and Reservations for more information.