Free admission for all. 
All events are free.

Celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by surrounding yourself with art, culture, and community. Enjoy free admission all day long at the MFA’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Open House.

There’s an array of vibrant, engaging, and collaborative programming scheduled throughout the day for all ages and abilities, presented in the spirit of Dr. King. Citizens Bank has sponsored the MFA’s MLK Day Open House for 16 consecutive years—allowing the Museum to welcome more than 110,000 visitors into our galleries for free to enjoy performances, tours, talks, art making, and more.

Special Events

Community Arts Initiative Partner Spotlight

10 am–5 pm, Shapiro Family Courtyard

Students from the Museum’s ten Community Arts Initiative partners commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement with screen-printed T-shirts inspired by graphic design styles and quotes.

Teen Arts Council presents Passport to Movements

10 am–3:30 pm, Riley Seminar Room, 156

Meet the MFA Teen Arts Council and drop in on an art-making activity and scavenger hunt leading visitors to works of art in the galleries inspired by movements, past and present.

Commemorating Remarks

1–1:15 pm, Shapiro Family Courtyard

Boston’s Mayor Martin J. Walsh commemorates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and this special day of significance. Following remarks, Mayor Walsh; Jerry Sargent, president, Citizens Bank, Massachusetts; and others add the first splashes of color to the one-of-a-kind mural created by teens from Artists For Humanity.

ASL interpretation

Interactive Painting with Artists For Humanity

1–4 pm, Shapiro Family Courtyard

Join teens from Artists For Humanity (AFH) to add your creative touch to a painting celebrating themes of social justice, equality, and unity. AFH is a local organization working to bridge economic, racial, and social divisions by providing under-resourced urban youth with the keys to self-sufficiency through paid employment in art and design. Learn more at


Music: Project STEP

Noon–12:30 and 2:30–3 pm, Shapiro Family Courtyard

Several chamber groups from Project STEP (String Training Education Program) perform classical compositions. Project STEP addresses the under- representation of racial and ethnic minorities in the field of classical music by providing musically talented children with comprehensive string instrument instruction, as well as mentoring and performance opportunities. Learn more at

Music: Larry Watson

1–1:45 and 3–3:45 pm, Remis Auditorium

Enjoy musical performances by Lawrence “Larry” Watson—inspired by his book H.E.M. (Highly Emotional Music)—chronicling social, cultural, economic, political, and moral changes in America following the Civil Rights movement. This special concert celebrates the diversity that is America and honors the lifework of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through art, music, and his own words.

Free performance ticket required.
Limited availability: first come, first served. Tickets available at Remis Auditorium Box Office starting 60 minutes before show times. This performance is supported by Berklee College of Music Office of Community Affairs and Campus Engagement.

Open Mic

2–2:30 and 3:30–4 pm, Alfond Auditorium

Join Tarishi “Midnight” Shuler—poet, playwright, and self-described “artistic adrenaline junkie learning self- identity through personal struggle and experience”— to hear spoken word and performance poetry. Accompanied by guest artist/poet Danielle Colin and percussionists Jordan Taylor Hill and 8-year-old Trustin Tolliver. Attendees can add their voices to a community poem that Tarishi will read to close the program.

Free performance ticket required.
Limited availability: first come, first served. Tickets available at Alfond Auditorium ticket desk starting 30 minutes before show times.

ASL interpretation
3:30 pm

Tours, Talks, and Walks

Family Art Walks

10:30 am, 12:30, and 1:30 pm, Meet at Sharf Visitor Center

Explore the Museum on a 30-minute kid-friendly tour looking at artwork inspired by unity.

Assistive Listening System
ASL interpretation
12:30 pm

American Sign Language Tour

Noon, Meet at Sharf Visitor Center

No translation to spoken English. Learn about the MFA’s comprehensive collection of art by artists of color, with a focus on works of art in the Contemporary galleries. Tour is 45 minutes.

ASL only; no spoken English

Tour en español

2:30 y 3:30 pm, Meet at Sharf Visitor Center

Conozca la amplia colección de arte del MFA realizada por artistas de color, con un enfoque particular en obras de arte de las galerías Contemporáneas. Las visitas tienen un duración de 45 minutos.

Assistive Listening System

Feeling for Form Tours and Sighted Guides

10:45 am and 1:45 pm, Meet at Sharf Visitor Center

Small group tours for visitors who are blind or low vision. Sighted guides available throughout the day; check in with the Access Liaison upon arrival.

Blind or Low Vision Access

Guided Tours in English

10:30 am–4:30 pm, Meet in the Art of the Americas Wing Levels 2 and 3

Learn about the MFA’s collection of art by African American artists and art acquired through the Museum’s Heritage Fund for a Diverse Collection—significant artworks representing the richness of American art and the diversity of the nation’s people. Tours circulate continuously through the galleries in the Art of the Americas Wing. Join one at any time.

ASL interpretation
2–3 pm
Meet at Sharf Visitor Center

Spotlight Talks

10:30 am–4:30 pm
Gallery 138 | Secretary (desk) by Thomas Day
Gallery 142 | Iago’s Mirror by Fred Wilson
Gallery 237 | Ceramic pot by Dave the Potter

Drop in for a short talk in any of the galleries listed. Learn about these important works of art, the African American artists who created them, and the stories they tell.

ASL interpretation
1:15–1:45 pm
Galleries 138 and 237

Family Art-Making Activities

Unity Garden

10 am–4 pm, Education Center in Druker Family Pavilion, Room 159

Visit the Gund Gallery, LG31, to look closely at Takashi Murakami’s Kawaii Natsuyasumi floor vinyl. Many flowers, repeated over and over, look like they are part of one garden. Back in the classroom, create a flower to add to a unity garden.

ASL interpretation
10:30–11:30 am

Family Trees

10 am–4 pm, Education Center in Druker Family Pavilion, Room 160

Unity is the state of being joined as a whole; a family can be a union of people. Explore the many photos of diverse families on view in “(un)expected families” in Galleries 169 and 170. Then go to the studio to design your own family tree. Every family is different and unique, so include whoever is special to you!

ASL interpretation
10:30–11:30 am

Bodhisattvas of Compassion

10 am–4 pm, Gallery 268

Visit Gallery 271 to view the sculpture Guanyin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. People cannot have unity unless they have compassion. Draw your own Guanyin to remind yourself of the importance of compassion when working with friends and family.

Family- and Kid-Friendly Self-Guiding Materials

Sharf Visitor Center

Pick up an Art Connections activity card in English or Spanish to explore writing, chocolate, birds, and other themes; get a My MFA Sketchbook to draw in the galleries; or find the helpful Guide to Family Fun at the MFA, available in English, Spanish, and Chinese, with tips, games, and more for exploring the Museum.

Additional Resources

MFA Guide

Available at all ticket desks, Sharf Visitor Center, and the Gund Gallery, LG31

Rent a mobile MFA Guide to explore the Museum’s collections, including a Kids’ tour introducing young visitors age 6 to 10 to the Art of the Americas collection. A selection of highlights is narrated in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and ASL. Many stops are accessible to visitors who are Deaf or blind.

Members $5; Nonmembers $6; Kids 17 and under $4. Free for visitors who are Deaf or blind.

Audio Description
ASL Interpreted
Assistive Listening System
Closed Captioning

EBT Card to Culture

Electronic Benefits Transfer

Present Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards at any ticket desk and receive up to four $3 tickets good for adult, senior, or student admission. Kids ages 17 and younger are always free.

Assistive Listening Devices (ALD) and Maps

An assistive listening system is available for gallery tours and talks from Sharf Visitor Center. Headsets and neckloops are available. For visitors with hearing aids with a T-coil switch, there are induction loops at all entrances, the box office, and the Information desk at Sharf Visitor Center. Large type maps are available at Sharf Visitor Center.

Assistive Listening System

MFA Citizens

Are you or is someone you know a new US citizen?

Learn more at any ticket or Member desk. New US citizens living in Massachusetts can receive a free one-year family membership to the MFA! Just come to the Museum, show a copy or photo of your naturalization certificate at any ticket desk within one year of your swearing-in, and you will get a free Museum membership for one year.

Additional Information


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.


Tickets are required for free Museum admission, available at all ticket desks.