Friday, April 19, 2019
10:00 am–4:00 pm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Special hours: Wed, Apr 17 10 am–8 pm

Free with Museum Admission

Theme: Symbols, Signs, and Stories

The Museum is filled with symbols, signs, and stories to discover. Make your own art, enjoy performances, go on a family art walk, and listen to stories. Enjoy free drop-in activities all week and, on Wednesday, meet Riley the Museum Dog.

All ages and abilities welcome; children must be accompanied by an adult. No registration required. Free admission for kids all week. (Kids 6 and under always get free admission to the MFA, and kids 7 to 17 are free during non-school hours. See Visiting with Kids and Family for more information.)


Family Art Walk

10:15 am–Noon, every 15 minutes, Meet at Sharf Visitor Center

Join MFA guides to explore symbols and stories in art. Tours are 30 minutes. Fun for all ages!

ASL Interpreted
Wednesday 10:15 am

Story Hour

10:30 am and 1:30 pm, Gallery 168

Drop by to hear children’s stories. Stay for one story or the entire hour.

ASL Interpreted
Wednesday 1:30 pm

Riley the Museum Dog: Book Signing and Scent Training Demonstration

Wednesday, April 17 only
11 am and 2 pm
Shapiro Family Courtyard

Meet special MFA staff member, Riley the dog. Watch him use his sense of smell to sniff out harmful insects hiding in the Museum. Purchase a copy of The Adventures of Riley the Museum Dog, published in partnership with The Boston Globe. Have it signed by author Devra First and illustrator Ryan Huddle, and stamped with a paw print. 

Children’s Storytelling Performances

11:30 am and 1:30 pm, Alfond Auditorium

Join us for 30-minute interactive storytelling extravaganzas with author/illustrators Jannie Ho and Gina Perry. Watch as stories come alive through drawing, music, and dance.

Tuesday, April 16, and Thursday, April 18

Jannie Ho is the author/illustrator of Bear and Chicken and is the illustrator of numerous board and novelty books, including the Tiny Tabs and ABC series. Her artwork also appears in toys, stationery, and digital media. Jannie lives with her family near Boston.

Wednesday, April 17, and Friday, April 19

Gina Perry is an illustrator and author who lives in New Hampshire. Small, Gina's debut as an author/illustrator, was a Bank Street Books Best Children's Book of 2018. Her latest picture books, TOO MUCH! NOT ENOUGH! and NOW? NOT YET! follow the adventures of two monster friends with clashing personalities.

ASL Interpreted
Wednesday 11:30 am

Art-Making Activities

Printed Signs

10 am–4 pm (to 8 pm on Wednesday), Education Center in Druker Family Pavilion, Room 160

Make your way to the Gund Gallery, LG31, to find the poster by Toulouse-Lautrec called La Châine Simpson Bicycle Chains. The artist created this sign for a bicycle company. Come to Room 160 to create your own bicycle print.

Benin Beads

10 am–4 pm (to 8 pm on Wednesday), Gallery 172

In Gallery 172 find the Commemorative head of an Oba or King. It is made from copper, but the beads on the king’s cap and collar are meant to look like they are made of coral. The king of Benin wore coral beads to symbolize his connection with Olokun, the god of wealth, who lives under the sea. Make your own beaded necklace in Gallery 172.

Tree of Life

10 am–4 pm (to 8 pm on Wednesday), Gallery 332

Look carefully at the Tree of Life in Gallery 332. Mexican Trees of Life are made to hold candles during special celebrations. They tell a story, from the bottom to the top. The story is often about a life cycle. Make your own Tree of Life that tells a story about an important event in your life.

Special Symbols

10 am–4 pm (to 8 pm on Wednesday), Education Center in Druker Family Pavilion, 159

Make your way to the Kunstkammer Gallery, 143, and find a round medal of Louis XII King of Brittany. Look at it closely and you’ll see many fleurs-de-lis. The fleur-de-lis, a lily with three petals connected at its base, is a symbol of light and perfection. In Room 159, design a symbol that represents you or your family.

Always Available

Art Connections Activity Cards

Sharf Visitor Center

Pick up an Art Connections Activity Card and explore dogs, families, mythical beasts, and other themes throughout the Museum. Recommended for all ages. Available in English and Spanish.

Made possible by Arthur R. Hilsinger And Barbara J. Janson.

A Guide to Family Fun at the MFA

Sharf Visitor Center

Pick up one of our free pocket-sized informational guides on visiting and exploring the Museum with kids. Includes tips, gallery games, and ideas for looking at and discussing art together. Available in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese.

MFA Guide: Kids' Tour

Available at any ticket desk and Sharf Visitor Center
Members $5; nonmembers $6; kids 17 and under $4; free for visitors who are Deaf or blind.

The Kids’ mobile tour introduces young visitors ages 6 to 10 to the Art of the Americas collections. The galleries are brought to life with the help of three quirky characters: Lucia, a high school reporter; Steve, an adventurous 10-year-old; and Malone, an art detective. Together they help kids look at art in new, creative ways.

MFA Guide: Art of the Americas content is made possible through the generous support of the John W. Henry Family Foundation; Art of Ancient Greece and Rome content is made possible through the generous support of the Barrington Foundation, Inc.; and Musical Instruments content is generously provided by the MFA Visiting Committee for Musical Instruments and the David L. Fishman Fund.


The MFA is committed to accessibility for all visitors. For information, visit Accessibility, e-mail, or call 617-267-9300 or 617-369-3188 (TTY). Wheelchairs and walkers are available at all entrances, first come, first served.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Special hours: Wed, Apr 17 10 am–8 pm

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Special hours: Wed, Apr 17 10 am–8 pm

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Special hours: Wed, Apr 17 10 am–8 pm

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Special hours: Wed, Apr 17 10 am–8 pm


Cogan Family Foundation Vacation Week Adventures supported by the Cogan Family Foundation.