The original MFA opened its doors to the public on July 4, 1876, the nation's centennial. Built in Copley Square, the MFA was then home to 5,600 works of art. Over the next several years, the collection and number of visitors grew exponentially, and in 1909 the Museum moved to its current home on Huntington Avenue.

Today the MFA is one of the most comprehensive art museums in the world; the collectionencompasses nearly 450,000 works of art. We welcome more than one million visitors each year to experience art from ancient Egyptian to contemporary, special exhibitions, and innovative educational programs.

November 2010 marks the opening of The New MFA. Designed by the world-renowned Foster and Partners architects, The New MFA comprises a new wing for Art of the Americas; renovated art of Europe galleries; improved conservation and education facilities;The Linde Family Wing devoted entirely to contemporary art; and a new, larger public space—the Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Family Courtyard.

An Artists' Colony - Right Across the Street

Established in 1876, The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is one of the oldest and most distinguished art schools in the United States. Through an affiliation with Tufts University established in 1945, the SMFA offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs, providing students with a full range of academic resources.

Mission Statement

Adopted by the Board of Trustees, February 28, 1991

The Museum of Fine Arts houses and preserves preeminent collections and aspires to serve a wide variety of people through direct encounters with works of art.

The Museum aims for the highest standards of quality in all its endeavors. It serves as a resource for both those who are already familiar with art and those for whom art is a new experience. Through exhibitions, programs, research and publications, the Museum documents and interprets its own collections. It provides information and perspective on art through time and throughout the world.

The Museum holds its collections in trust for future generations. It assumes conservation as a primary responsibility which requires constant attention to providing a proper environment for works of art and artifacts. Committed to its vast holdings, the Museum nonetheless recognizes the need to identify and explore new and neglected areas of art. It seeks to acquire art of the past and present which is visually significant and educationally meaningful.

The Museum has obligations to the people of Boston and New England, across the nation and abroad. It celebrates diverse cultures and welcomes new and broader constituencies. The Museum is a place in which to see and to learn. It stimulates in its visitors a sense of pleasure, pride and discovery which provides aesthetic challenge and leads to a greater cultural awareness and discernment.

The Museum creates educational opportunities for visitors and accommodates a wide range of experiences and learning styles. The Museum educates artists of the future through its School. The creative efforts of the students and faculty provide the Museum and its public with insights into emerging art and art forms.

The Museum's ultimate aim is to encourage inquiry and to heighten public understanding and appreciation of the visual world.

Architectural History

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced that the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is one of 13 buildings to receive a prestigious 2011 RIBA International Award for architectural excellence.

From the opening of its first location in Copley Square through today, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), has undertaken a series of renovation and expansion projects.

July 4, 1876—Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, opens at Copley Square in Sturgis and Brigham-designed building.

May 1909—Copley Square building closes.

November 1909—MFA opens new Beaux Arts building on Huntington Avenue, designed by Boston architect Guy Lowell.

February 1915—Evans Wing for Paintings opens, completing the second section of Guy Lowell’s original 1907 master plan.

1921 and 1925—Renowned artist John Singer Sargent completes ambitious mural program, incorporating sculpture and architectural ornamentation, for the MFA’s Rotunda (1921) and Colonnade (1925), now known as the Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Rotunda and Colonnade. These murals are restored and conserved in 1999.

September 1927—The School of the Museum of Fine Arts opens its new building, designed by Guy Lowell, on the Fenway. The building is renovated and expanded in 1987 by Graham Gund Architects.

November 1928—The Decorative Arts Wing, designed by Guy Lowell, opens on the east side of the MFA to house the Museum’s extensive collection of European and American decorative arts.

June 1970—The George Robert White Wing, designed by Hugh Stubbins, opens on the west side of the MFA, providing new space for a conservation laboratory, library, restaurants, education facilities, and administrative offices.

July 1981—The West Wing, designed by I.M. Pei, opens, incorporating a large gallery space for special exhibitions, an auditorium, restaurants, and shops.

April 1995—MFA Director Malcolm Rogers reopens Huntington Avenue Entrance, which had been closed since 1990.

May 1999—Architectural firm Foster + Partners (London) is commissioned to develop master site plan for MFA.

September 2001—Museum launches Building the New MFA campaign.

February 2002—Foster + Partners (London) unveils master site plan.

November 2005—Building Project breaks ground.

September 2006—Museum names Art of the Ancient World Wing in honor of George D. and Margo Behrakis.

September 2007—MFA acquires adjacent Forsyth Institute building.

June 2008—MFA opens the State Street Corporation Fenway Entrance, which had been closed since the early 1980s, as well as a new Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Visitor Center.

June 2008—I.M. Pei-designed West Wing is renamed Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art.

September 2008—MFA concludes Building the New MFA campaign, raising $504 million, and "tops off" final steel beam.

April 2009—Museum completes renovation of Huntington Avenue Entrance on the Avenue of the Arts.

September 2010—MFA names its Huntington Avenue plaza the Bank of America Plaza on the Avenue of the Arts.

November 20, 2010—Wing for the Art of the Americas and Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Family Courtyard open to the public with free Community Day.

September 2011—Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art to open.

Contributed by Anonymous
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