List of Boston's Top Museums

Photo of City of Boston near a waterway

Just like other world class cities, Boston can be defined by its museums. The city seemingly has one for everybody, starting with one of the world’s best children’s museums, plus institutes of science, art, history and natural history. Boston residents find themselves returning – time after time – to their favorite museums to see if there’s something new to discover among the beloved collections.

Here are Boston's best museums: 

Museum of Science, Boston

Located along the Charles River, this museum is known for its hands-on activities and exhibits. There are more than 700 interactive permanent exhibits, as well as revolving exhibits, planetarium shows, IMAX films and the simulated Thrill Ride 360-Degrees. The museum is designed around fun as a learning tool.

Museum of Fine Arts

Bostonians are proud of their vast landmark, which is one of the largest museums in the world and features collections from Ancient Egypt to contemporary works. Here you’ll find one of the largest collections of works by impressionist Claude Monet, as well as a new Art of the Americas wing encompassing 53 new galleries.

Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

Locals know they’ll get some great views of Boston Harbor from this museum, which features major thematic exhibitions and leading contemporary artists and also introduces emerging artists. Popular “First Fridays” programs offer movies, live music, artist talks and other activities among the artwork once each month.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Founded by collector Isabella Stewart Gardner, this museum of international art opened in 1903. It houses Isabella’s personal collection that includes more than 2,500 paintings, sculptures, furniture, silver and rare books. The museum gained worldwide fame after a 1990 unsolved heist in which thieves stole 13 valuable works of art.

Boston Children’s Museum

As the second-oldest and one of the largest children’s museums in the world, the BCM has been enchanting kids of all ages since 1913. The dozens of hands-on exhibits and programs focus on science, culture, the arts, the environment and health.

Harvard Museum of Natural History

This natural history museum on the grounds of Harvard University in Cambridge is known for its permanent and revolving exhibits of plant specimens, fossils, rare minerals and mounted wildlife specimens – collections that number in the millions. A relative newcomer on the museum scene, the Natural History Museum opened in 1998.

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