The MFA Celebrates the Holidays with a Line-Up of World-Class Art, Music, Dining and Shopping

BOSTON, MA (November 18, 2013)—Baby, it’s cold outside, which means it’s time to make plans for a memorable season at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). Whether holiday revelers are looking for a romantic evening of winter warmers and fine dining, or prefer an uplifting concert sung by a gospel choir, the MFA is a welcoming gathering place for friends, family and loved ones throughout the holiday season. Visitors will find works of art from all over the world as well as art-inspired gifts, seasonal fine dining and activities to keep the kids busy. In the galleries, visitors can make memories strolling among festive décor as they find treasures throughout the Museum.

MFA members, who always visit free, receive holiday rewards at the Museum this December. Member Shopping Days run Thursday, December 5 through Sunday, December 8¬¬, when members can double their discount with 20 percent off Museum Shop purchases, in stores and online (some exclusions apply). Member Guest Days run Thursday, December 12 through Sunday, December 15 and allow members to bring up to four additional guests beyond the general admission privileges of their membership, to share the joy of the season with friends and family.

Art of the Holidays

It’s not the holidays without a visit to the MFA, where festive art can be found throughout the Museum. Childe Hassam’s snowy Boston Common at Twilight (1885–86) is a favorite depiction of an evening stroll through Boston Common, while Dale Chihuly’s 43-foot Lime Green Icicle Tower (2011) could make any Christmas tree green with envy. Time is winding down to see Piero della Francesca's Senigallia Madonna (1470s)—a rare masterpiece depicting the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child with two attending angels—on view only through January 6. Jan Steen’s Twelfth-Night Feast (1662), which depicts a celebration of the three kings, is on view in the MFA’s newly renovated Dutch gallery. Additional holiday inspiration can be found across the Museum’s European galleries, where visitors can explore masterpieces depicting the Nativity or precious objects such as a silver-gilt Hanukkah Lamp from 18th-century Germany. The dramatic William I. Koch Gallery—designed in the spirit of a European palace—features tapestries complemented by an array of Old Master paintings and German silver set against a background of rich, red damask. Special exhibitions include John Singer Sargent Watercolors, which will warm visitors with a tour of the artist’s favorite places in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Giving the Gift of Art

The MFA is a great place to find the perfect holiday gift. Bookworms will love the gorgeous art books, many of which celebrate special exhibitions such as John Singer Sargent Watercolors and She Who Tells a Story as well as the Museum’s various collections, while any design maven will covet the home décor inspired by Museum masterpieces. Jewelry, accessories, note cards and ornaments provide ample options for everyone on Santa’s list.

For a gift that provides artistic inspiration throughout the year, consider MFA membership. As members, recipients enjoy free admission to the Museum, access to members-only exhibition previews, events, and family programs as well as discounted tickets to lectures, courses, concerts and films and discounts on parking, dining and shopping.

Dining Options

Festive dinner plans warm up Boston’s coldest winter evenings. At Bravo, the MFA’s fine dining restaurant, sumptuous dishes offer the perfect holiday feast. In the Shapiro Family Courtyard, the New American Café offers modern cuisine in Boston’s contemporary glass courtyard, where if you’re lucky, fresh snow will make you feel like you’re in a snow globe. For a sweet treat and a cappuccino or merlot, Taste Café and Wine Bar in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art will bring cheer to one and all.

Bringing the Kids

After the excitement of the holidays, kids on break can immerse themselves in artmaking and activities at the MFA during December Holiday Vacation Week (December 26–31). Free drop-in events will provide a welcome relief for parents, offering activities that range from creating art in the studio to celebrating traditions from around the world. Children 17 and under are always free at the Museum.

Holiday Concerts

Music devotees can end the year on a high note with two concerts by the NEC Millennium Gospel Choir, held on Friday, December 20 and Saturday, December 21. The Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art will also be in the spirit with free, live performances every second Thursday night of the month. As part of the Sound Bites: Nancy Lee Clark Concert Series, the NEC Percussion Ensemble will perform on November 14, while on December 12, A Beethoven Birthday Bash will feature ensembles from NEC's annual Beethoven Quartet Symposium.

First Night Boston and Holiday Hours

For New Year’s Eve, the MFA is granting free admission to visitors with First Night Boston buttons, which will be on sale at the Museum for $10. To celebrate the occasion, two 45-minute First Night Film screenings on Tuesday, December 31 will include a number of crowd-pleasing short films. The MFA is closed on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas, but is regularly open Saturday through Tuesday, 10 a.m.–4:45 p.m.; and Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m.–9:45 p.m. 

Stay Social with the MFA

The holidays set the Museum a-twitter with tips and inside information on the not-to-miss activities and works of art in the collection. Fans can follow along on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

John Singer Sargent Watercolors is sponsored by Bank of America. Additional support for the exhibition provided by the Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for Art and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Supporting sponsorship for Piero della Francesca’s Senigallia Madonna: An Italian Treasure, Stolen and Recovered from Friends of the Italian Cultural Center of Boston. Presented with additional support from the Cordover Exhibition Fund and the MFA Associates/MFA Senior Associates Exhibition Endowment Fund. Lent by the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche/Soprintendenza per i Beni Storici, Artistici ed Etnoantropologici delle Marche/Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo. In cooperation with the Comando Carabinieri per la Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale. Presented under the auspices of the President of the Italian Republic’s “2013—Year of Italian Culture in the United States,” designed to enhance the close bonds between Italy and the United States. 

She Who Tells a Story is generously supported by the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Additional support from the Barbara Jane Anderson Fund.

The Art of the Netherlands in the 17th Century Gallery renovation was made possible by Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo.

December Holiday Vacation Week made possible by The Lowell Institute.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is recognized for the quality and scope of its encyclopedic collection, which includes an estimated 450,000 objects.  The Museum’s collection is made up of: Art of the Americas; Art of Europe; Contemporary Art; Art of Asia, Oceania, and Africa; Art of the Ancient World; Prints, Drawings, and Photographs; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. Admission (which includes one repeat visit within 10 days) is $25 for adults and $23 for seniors and students age 18 and older, and includes entry to all galleries and special exhibitions.  Admission is free for University Members and youths age 17 and younger on  weekdays after 3 p.m., weekends, and Boston Public Schools holidays; otherwise $10.  Wednesday nights after 4 p.m. admission is by voluntary contribution (suggested donation $25). MFA Members are always admitted for free.  The MFA’s multi-media guide is available at ticket desks and the Sharf Visitor Center for $5, members; $6, non-members; and $4, youths. The Museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Patriots’ Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  For more information, visit or call 617.267.9300. The MFA is located on the Avenue of the Arts at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.