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.
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.
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.
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 www.afhboston.org.
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 www.projectstep.org.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Meet at Sharf Visitor Center
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.
Galleries 138 and 237
Family Art-Making Activities
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
The MFA is committed to accessibility for all visitors. For information, visit Accessibility, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.