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For Learning and Play: Boston’s Amazing Museums

Before classes really start to pick up, we advise collegiettes to get out to some of the world-class museums Boston has to offer. Some have events for students and specials so be sure to flash your BU ID upon entrance. Also, be sure to bookmark this page— you’ll definitely want to check out all of these museums!


Museum of Fine Arts Boston

What: Travel through time and across the world as you wander through galleries showcasing work of famous and obscure art masters. See contemporary photography, abstract sculpture, ancient coins, Renaissance paintings, art deco furniture, modern film and more. There’s a surprise around every corner and you’ll never know what will strike you in particular.

Where: 465 Huntington Avenue (right by Northeastern)

Cost: FREE with BU ID!

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

What: Isabella Stewart Gardner built her house around her love of collecting art and when she died she donated the home she custom-designed to be a museum. Housing her personal art collection in galleries particularly arranged by Gardner herself, the museum is centered around a breathtaking inside garden oasis, and is also home to the biggest art heist in history.

Where: 25 Evans Way (along the beautiful Emerald Necklace)

Cost: FREE with BU ID!

Institute of Contemporary Art Boston

What: Housing contemporary art in all forms of media including visual, art, music, film and performance, Boston’s ICA is your exclusive destination for contemporary art. Breaking from the past while bearing its influence, you’ll find yourself absorbed by pieces you might not understand, but will appreciate.

Where: 100 Northern Avenue (in the seaport—get off the silver line at “Courthouse”)

Cost: $10 with BU ID (student rate)


Boston Tea Party Museum


What: Obsessed with the American Revolution? Not only will you dive into history, you’ll actually experience it for yourself at this multi-sensory museum. You’ll meet the colonists, explore the ships and even dump tea overboard as you’ll be immersed in the Boston Tea Party.

Where: Floating next to the Congress Street Bridge

Cost: $22.00 in person with BU ID, but $21.00 online (student rate)

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University

What: Exploring what makes humankind similar and diverse, this museums takes you through ethnic groups present all over the world. Celebrating humanity through cultural understanding, you’ll find how you as a person, fit in.

Where: 11 Divinity Avenue in Cambridge (on Harvard’s campus)

Cost: FREE to Massachusetts residents every Sunday morning (year-round) from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and on Wednesdays from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm (September through May) or $10 any other time with BU ID (student rate). Admission here also buys you admission to the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

The Freedom Trail Foundation


What: The city of Boston itself is a museum that deserves to be explored for its historical significance in the Revolutionary War. The Freedom Trail animates the city through guided tours led by historical characters. Particularly perfect for a nice day, walk through downtown uncovering the history of streets you travel everyday.

Where: Walk Into History Tours depart from Boston Common Visitor Information Center located at 139 Tremont St. and Reverse Walk Into History Tours depart from ArtsBoston Bostix booth at Faneuil Hall (by the Sam Adams statue)

Cost: $10 with BU ID (student rate)


Museum of Science


What: Explore science in all its forms from electricity to optical allusions to playground physics to spacecrafts to animals and more. You’ll be playing like a child but also absorbing knowledge about how you encounter science in your everyday live. Full of endless fun, this museum will have you never wanting to leave.

Where: Just get off the T at the Museum of Science stop on the green line heading toward Lechmere.

Cost: $23 or go for FREE Friday September 25 from 5-9 p.m. with your BU ID for the annual student night

Harvard Museum of Natural History


What: Earth has more secrets than you could ever imagine, but Harvard has tried to uncover an astounding number of them. See the beautiful glass flowers, mastodon skeleton, enormous collection of minerals, to name a few if you just wander from room to room in this quirky little museum. It might seem small but you could spend hours pouring over its collections of millions of earthly artifacts.

Where: 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge (on Harvard’s Campus)

Cost: FREE to Massachusetts residents every Sunday morning (year-round) from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and on Wednesdays from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm (September through May) or $10 any other time with BU ID (student rate). Admission here also buys you admission to the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.

New England Aquarium


What: Consider the aquarium a living museum of sea life. The penguins and seals are reason enough to pay a visit but while you’re in the museum be sure to say hi to all of the fish, crustaceans, squid, sharks, eels and octopi who also call the aquarium home. Centered around a gigantic cylindrical tank, fish will surround you no matter where you go. If you think admission’s a little out of your budget right now, you can always see the seals for free on the outside of the building.

Where: Just get off the T at the Aquarium stop on the blue line heading toward Wonderland.

Cost: $24.95 with BU ID (student rate)


Mapparium at the Mary Eddy Baker Library

What: You must visit this three-story stained glass globe in the Mary Baker Eddy Library. Showing the political geographical boundaries of the world in 1935, you’ll understand how ideas can transcend time and geography to change the world.

Where: 200 Massachusetts Avenue (part of the Christian Science Center complex)

Cost: $4 with BU ID (student rate)

Boston Children’s Museum


What: You don’t need children to go to the Children’s Museum if you’re a kid at heart. As one of the biggest children’s museums in the world, exhibits focus on science and math, culture, the environment, health and fitness, the arts and literacy.

Where: 308 Congress Street (across from the Boston Tea Party Museum)

Cost: $16

Can’t get enough? Try visiting Museums of Boston and the City of Boston’s Museum/Gallery Guide for more museums in Boston and throughout Massachusetts.


An advertising student at Boston University, Allison Penn has been writing for HCBU since fall 2013. Her favorite beat is tips for internships and professionalism, but enjoys musing about pop culture too. She loves the weekly #Adweekchat, children's books, the colors olive and eggplant, Friends, magazines and dark chocolate. Secretly, she still wishes she could be a ballerina when she grows up. Follow on Twitter: @AllisonRebeccaP
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