Top 10 Boston Museums

Boston and its surrounding towns are home to a surplus of museums celebrated throughout the nation and even the world. Boston museums offer the best of the city's rich history, scientific discovery, and artistic achievement.

These top 10 Boston museums are so unique and diverse that there's truly something for every visitor to enjoy.

  1. Museum of Science

    Boston's most-visited attraction is the place where science and technology come to life. Over 700 interactive exhibits with hands-on activities offer the opportunity for fun and learning for visitors of all ages.

    Get an up-close look at the first space capsule, take a virtual tour of Acadia National Park, watch lightning strike right before your eyes, and so much more!

    The museum also features an IMAX Dome, Hayden Planetarium, and the brand new Hall of Human Life. Dine at one of the six on-site eating establishments to conclude your visit.

  2. Museum of Fine Arts

    The MFA of Boston is one of the world's most impressive collections of fine art. The grandly designed MFA building houses more than 450,000 pieces of art from all over the world. The "Art of the Americas" wing is the newest feature- a spectacular display of 53 galleries dedicated to art from the Pre-Columbian era through the twentieth century.

    TPlus, ever-changing temporary exhibits focus on specific themes, from wood sculptures to Japanese tea-bowls. If you have any interest in art or an eye for the aesthetically pleasing, this is a must-see attraction.

  3. USS Constitution Museum

    Learn about the Bean's beloved "Old Ironsides," the oldest commissioned warship afloat, at this non-profit museum. The USS Constitution Museum, located by the ship itself, houses the ship's logs, weapons, documents, journals, decorative arts, uniforms, and more.

    You'll even have the chance to fire a cannon or swing in a hammock like the original sailors of the USS Constitution did. This museum is filled with important American history, and it provides a fun and educational way to explore Old Ironsides' legacy.

  4. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

    This museum of international art is perhaps most famous for what it doesn't have - the largest art heist in history took place at this museum over 20 years ago when several Vermeer and Rembrandt pieces were stolen from it. However, the museum still has plenty to offer.

    Visitors love the museum's spectacular architecture and lovely Venetian courtyard as well as the 2500+ masterpieces housed inside. Isabella Stewart Gardner's collection includes pieces by Michelangelo, Degas, Sargent, Monet, Botticelli, and more, arranged according to Ms. Gardner's unique vision.

    Any art-lover must check out this creative haven before leaving Boston.

  5. Peabody Essex Museum

    As one of New England's largest museums, the Peabody Essex houses one million artifacts of art and culture that span centuries and continents. The museum dates all the way back to 1799, when sea captains would bring home treasures from exotic lands.

    It has one of the world's most comprehensive collections of maritime and oceanic art and artifacts, in addition to African, American, Asian, Native American, and Indian collections.

    Inside the museum, you'll also find special exhibitions, a hands-on education center, an award-winning gift shop, and a café and restaurant. Outside, see numerous parks, period gardens, and historic houses.

  6. Concord Museum

    This museum is the gateway to Concord's remarkable revolutionary and literary history, home to one of the oldest and most treasured collections of Americana in the nation.

    On exhibit, you'll discover one of the lanterns hung in the Old North Church on April 18, 1775, the desk on which Henry D. Thoreau wrote "Walden," and the studies of American transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson. Collections also include decorative arts, furniture, clock, look-glasses, textiles, and more. For Colonial history, this is the museum to visit.

  7. Institute of Contemporary Art

    For a multi-sensory exploration of cutting-edge art, the ICA is your stop. The ICA brings the most significant national and international contemporary art to Boston in its visionary building that boasts a beautiful waterfront view. Exhibits are designed to engage you in the creative process through visual interaction and artistic dialogue.

    The site is also home to a performing arts theater, media center, bookstore, and café all designed to help you spend hours in this landmark building.

  8. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum

    The nation's memorial to President John F. Kennedy is housed in a magnificent building on a 10-acre waterfront site on Columbia Point. Twenty-five multimedia exhibits and period settings from the White House will make you feel like you've traveled to the early '60s in the shoes of Kennedy himself.

    Sit at JFK's Oval Office desk as you discover a fascinating account of Kennedy's days in office. Panoramic views of Boston's skyline and Harbor Islands are the cherry on top of this must-see Boston attraction.

  9. Harvard Museum of Natural History

    Discovery starts here with three museums in one: Comparative Zoology, the Herbaria, and the Mineralogical and Geological Museums combine to form Harvard's most-visited attraction. Just a few of the things you'll see are the 16,000-pound amethyst geode, the 15-foot-long ground sloth, and dozens of fossil displays.

    Get ready for a unique learning experience and lots of surprises at this museum, conveniently located on the campus of one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

  10. Salem Witch Museum

    Travel back to 1692 in Salem Village to experience the hysteria of what came to be known as the infamous Massachusetts "witch hunt." Discover why 180 people were accused and imprisoned or punished for witchcraft and learn how the word "witch" evolved.

    You'll explore the associations that led to the stereotypical witch perception and visit all of the sites where witches were alleged to have existed.

    For a truly haunting experience, explore the museum and historic town at Halloween! Don't forget to stop in the museum's store to pick-up some unique souvenirs.

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