BU Today

Campus Life

Free Culture

Where to go in Boston to get highbrow at low cost

Click above to see the cultural exhibits available without even opening your wallet.


Most BU students know that Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts offers them complimentary tickets, but for a culture-seeker with a limited (or nonexistent) budget, the MFA is just the beginning.

Historical museums, art museums, exhibitions, and monuments that students can visit without charge are scattered across the Boston area. In addition to the locations described in the slide show above, here are a few more places to visit:

Boston College’s McMullen Museum of Art
The collection here contains art ranging from 16th-century Flemish tapestries and Italian paintings to modern American paintings up to 1940. This semester, the exhibition Pollock Matters explores for the first time the personal and artistic relationship between abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock and photographer and graphic designer Herbert Matter.

MIT List Visual Arts Center
The gallery expands the traditional aesthetic focus of art into the realm of social, cultural, scientific, and economic contexts with its collection of “challenging, intellectually inquisitive, contemporary” art in all media.

MIT Museum’s Compton Gallery
The current exhibition MIT Professor Jerry Milgram: An Exceptional Ocean Engineer celebrates Milgram’s career as the school’s longest-serving professor of ocean engineering, with images, artifacts, and interviews.

MIT Museum’s Hart Nautical Gallery
Since 1924, the gallery has displayed ship models and examples of ocean-engineering technology created by MIT affiliates.

Longyear Museum
The Longyear Museum contains the photographs, letters, and artifacts of Mary Baker Eddy, the 19th-century founder of the Christian Science Church.

The New England Holocaust Memorial
Survivors of the Nazi concentration camps, joined by individuals and organizations from across the community, created this memorial, located along the Freedom Trail, to “foster memory of and reflection on one of the great tragedies of our time,” according to the memorial’s Web site.

Boston Public Library, Copley Square
More than 50 programs take place each week at the BPL, including scheduled art and architecture tours of the Copley Square buildings, author talks, and exhibitions. The Extravagant Ambassador: Alexandre Vattemare, The French Ventriloquist Who Changed the World runs until September 29. The exhibition showcases the artifacts of one of the founders of the BPL, who began a nationwide public library movement.

Rebecca McNamara can be reached at ramc@bu.edu.