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Timed-Entry Ticket Required


The acclaimed portraits of President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama come to the MFA on the final stop of their national tour

Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of President Barack Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama have become iconic since the moment they were unveiled in 2018. A striking departure from earlier presidential portraits and images of first ladies, the two paintings have inspired unprecedented responses from the public.

Wiley and Sherald are the first African Americans commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to create official portraits of a president and first lady. Their distinctive artistic visions are rooted in the tradition of American portraiture but committed to making space for people of color. Through their portraits, which are at once extraordinary and approachable, audiences can see themselves in President Obama and the former First Lady.

The seventh and final stop on a US tour that began in June 2021, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is thrilled to offer audiences in New England and throughout the world a chance to experience in person these works of art exploring power, identity, and legacy throughout history.

“The Obama Portraits Tour” is expected to reach millions of people who might not otherwise have an opportunity to view these remarkable paintings. Previous stops include the Art Institute of Chicago, Brooklyn Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and de Young Museum, San Francisco.

Portraits of Leadership

At the MFA, “The Obama Portraits Tour” will be complemented by “Portraits of Leadership,” a crowd-sourced collection of portraits from the community featuring leaders of all kinds.

Timed-Entry Tickets Required

Due to limited capacity, timed-entry exhibition tickets (general admission included) are required in advance for all visitors, including MFA members.

Tickets are on sale now. Visit Tickets to reserve yours.

Please note, timed tickets for “The Obama Portraits Tour” are only available pending availability. We strongly recommend reserving tickets in advance as time slots are expected to sell out.

Free Admission to “The Obama Portraits Tour”

The Museum is offering free admission for all, including access to “The Obama Portraits Tour,” on four occasions:

  • Monday, September 5 (Labor Day)
  • Monday, September 19
  • Monday, October 10 (Indigenous Peoples’ Day)
  • Sunday, October 30

No advance tickets. Admission to “The Obama Portraits Tour” and other timed, ticketed exhibitions available in person on a first-come, first-served basis.

FAQ

What is included with my ticket to “The Obama Portraits Tour”?

Tickets include general admission to the Museum; you may explore the permanent collections before or after your scheduled “Obama Portraits” time slot. “Obama Portraits” tickets do not include entry to “Life Magazine and the Power of Photography” (October 9, 2022–January 16, 2023).

How do I get tickets?

Visit Tickets to reserve online, visit any ticket desk at the Museum, or call 1-800-440-6975 ($6 processing fee for phone orders; phone representatives are available Monday–Thursday 9 am to 6 pm, Friday 9 am to 8 pm, and Saturday and Sunday 9 am to 5 pm).

What if I miss my time slot?

Entry to the exhibition outside the 30-minute window on your ticket is not permitted. You may arrive early and explore other areas of the museum prior to your “Obama Portraits” entry time.

Can I exchange my ticket for a different date?

Visit Ticketing Policies for ticket exchange information.

Are children required to have tickets?

Yes, all members and visitors regardless of age are required to have a timed-entry ticket to visit the exhibition.

Can I bring a group to see “The Obama Portraits Tour”?

Due to the limited time and gallery capacity for this exhibition, we are unable to offer group reservations or pricing.

How can I visit with a library pass?

Your library pass will grant you discounted admission to the exhibition, but you still must use it to reserve a timed-entry ticket to access the exhibition. Library pass holders can reserve tickets online starting August 2, 2022, at 10 am, or in person on the day of your visit, pending availability.

How can I visit as a university or college student?

Students, faculty, and staff in participating colleges and universities can reserve free advance tickets online between August 2 and August 29, 2022, with a promo code; contact your university representative for the promo code or e-mail membership@mfa.org for information about whom to contact. University members can also reserve free tickets in person on the day of their visit, pending availability.

Can I re-enter the exhibition?

No, visitors must enter the exhibition during their 30-minute entry window and may not re-enter the gallery during your visit.

How many tickets can I get as a member?

Members receive an allotment of free timed-entry exhibition tickets per the benefits of their membership level (see table below). All members and guests, including all children, require an exhibition ticket to enter.

To reserve member tickets in advance, please log on to your mfa.org account using the email address we have on file for your membership.

Member Ticket Allotments

Membership Level Free Member Exhibition Tickets Discounted Member Exhibition Tickets (after free allotment has been used)
Individual 2 total (adult or youth) per exhibition; includes general admission Additional guest tickets are not available at the Individual level.
Friends and Family 4 total (adult or youth) per exhibition; includes general admission 2 discounted exhibition tickets per day for $5 each (adult or youth)
Ambassador 4 total (adult or youth) per exhibition; includes general admission 4 discounted exhibition tickets per day for $5 each (adult or youth)

Are there times reserved for members only to visit “The Obama Portraits Tour”?

Yes. The Member Preview is September 1 and 2, and Members-Only Hours are every Sunday through 10/23/22 during the 10 and 10:30 am time slots. Please note, due to the popularity of this exhibition, reserving tickets in advance is highly recommended as time slots are expected to sell out in advance.

  • Lois B. and Michael K. Torf Gallery (Gallery 184)

Sponsors

National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian

Organized by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC.

Bank of America, National Sponsor

Support for the tour has been generously provided by Bank of America.

The exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is generously supported by Suffolk Cares, Carolyn and Peter Lynch and the Lynch Foundation, the Crimson Lion / Lavine Family Foundation, and Patti and Jonathan Kraft. Additional support from the Adams-Budding-Cohen Family, Bridgitt and Bruce Evans, Susan Clark Livingston, and the Hutchins Family Foundation.

WCVB: Boston's Community Leader

Media Partner

With gratitude to Converse, The 7uice Foundation, The Boston Foundation, and the Obama Foundation.