Where to Go Tours & Routes FAQ Search

Massachusetts Art Museums

Massachusetts has the richest collection of fine arts museums in New England. You'll find them in Boston, the Berkshire Hills, Cape Cod, Springfield, Worcester and many other cities and towns.

Greater Boston

Anyone interested in fine art has heard about Boston's splendid Museum of Fine Arts, and the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum, but the Harvard Art Museums are equally impressive, and there are dozens of smaller museums in the metropolitan area, most easily reachable by public transportation.

Museum of Fine Arts

Boston's prime fine arts museum, the MFA is one of the finest in the world, and the first stop for art lovers. More...

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

A short walk from the MFA, the Gardner is Massachusetts' most charming museum, a grand Mansion filled with the fine and varied collections of a 19th-century Boston grande dame. More...

Harvard Art Museums

Another world-class collection with works you've seen in books and loved for years, easily visitable in a fine new building on the Harvard University campus in Cambridge. More...

Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)

Daring, inventive, outrageous: if it hasn't been done before, and it's really done well, it'll show up at the ICA, the dramatic waterfront museum in South Boston. More...

Boston Athenaeum

This historic private library on Beacon Hill in the center of Boston (map) has a small but exquisite collection of fine works, some of which you already know, but have never seen up close. More...

deCordova Museum & Sculpture Park

Set on a verdant country campus in suburban Lincoln, 18 miles (29 km) northwest of Boston Common (map), the deCordova is perfect for an art getaway from the city. More...

Boston University Art Gallery

Check on current exhibitions on Boston University's art gallery, then take an MBTA Green Line "B" train 3 miles (5 km) west of Boston Common to the Boston University West stop (map) for a visit. More...

McMullen Museum of Art

Boston College's fine arts museum offers outstanding exhibits and shows at its current (2015) location in Chestnut Hill, 6 miles (10 km) west of Boston Common, but in future it will move to a new building in Brighton, 5.6 miles (9 km) west of the Common. More...

Rose Art Museum

Brandeis University's fine collection, especially strong in works by American artists of the 1960s and 1970s (Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Morris Louis, James Rosenquist and Andy Warhol) is 11 miles (18 km) west of Boston Common in Waltham (map), easily reached by MBTA Commuter Rail train on the Fitchburg line. More...

Davis Museum & Cultural Center

Since 1889, the fine arts museum of Wellesley College, 18 miles (29 km) west of Boston (map), has been building its notable collection of art works from around the world. Its motto, "There’s always something for everyone at the Davis!", is certainly true. More...

List Visual Arts Center & MIT Museum

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's high-tech, modernist art museums on the MIT campus in Cambridge are known for their think-outside-the-box exhibits.

Danforth Art Museum

Suburban Framingham's Danforth Art Museum, now known as the Danfort Art Center at Framingham State University, is a hidden gem 21 miles (34 km) west of Boston Common by MBTA Commuter Rail train on the Framingham line. Having moved from its traditional home, it is now in the Jonathan Maynard Building on Framingham's Centre Common (map). The Danforth is known for its 3000-object permanent collection, its beautifully-staged exhibits of well-selected current and local artists, and its teaching and training functions for aspiring artists and sculptors. More...

Cyrus Dallin Art Museum

You may not know the name of this American sculptor, but you probably know his work: Appeal to the Great Spirit, the statue which greets you at the entrance to Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, is by Dallin. There's plenty more at his museum in suburban Arlington, 8 miles (13 km) northwest of Boston Common (map). MBTA Bus 77, 79 or 350 takes you there, as does the Minuteman Bikeway. More...

Milton Art Museum at Massasoit

In suburban Milton, 16 miles (26 km) south of Boston Common, the museum boasts fine Asian painting, calligraphy and statuary; etchings and lithographs by Baskin, Cezanne, Chagall, Kollwitz, Manet, Picasso, Piranesi, Renoir, Signac, Turner and Whistler; signed prints by Dali, Calder, Hundertwasser, Komjate, Lebadang, Magritte, Miró, Motherwell and Warhol; and the centerpiece of the collection, a 17th-century painting by Cornelius Bisschop. Public transportation requires three bus trips, and takes time, but driving is easy. More...

National Center of Afro-American Artists

The National Center's museum, in Roxbury, 3.4 miles (5.4 km) southwest of Boston Common (map), hosts fine exhibits of the wide range of works created by African and African-American artists throughout history. Take the MBTA Orange Line to the Jackson Square stop, then walk for 20 minutes. More...

Museum of American Bird Art at Mass. Audubon

If you like either art, or birds, or both, you'll want to visit MABA on the grounds of Mass Audubon's 121-acre wildlife sanctuary 19 miles (30.6 km) south of Boston Common in Canton, reachable by MBTA Commuter Rail trains on the Providence/ Stoughton Line (map). More...

North Shore

North of Boston along the coast of Massachusetts Bay are the colonial and Early American mercantile ports that gave America its first millionaires, and received exquisite art works out of ships returning from their Asian voyages. Salem's renowned Peabody-Essex Museum has a astonishing 1.8 million works, and Phillips Academy's Addison Gallery of American Art is among the finest American art collections in the country. And that's not all the North Shore has to offer.


Peabody-Essex Museum

From the 1700s, ships out of Salem, Massachusetts roamed the seven seas carrying cargoes to and from America. Shipowners got rich, and ship captains brought back marvelous works of art from around the world.

Peabody Essex Museum, Salem MA
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem MA.

Salem's renowned Peabody-Essex Museum ("PEM") holds an astonishing 1.8 million objects from the 1700s to today: paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, textiles, architecture and decorative objects from Africa, America, China, India, Japan, and Korea; maritime, Native American and Oceanic art. The American portraits collection alone is more than 1000 paintings. More...


Addison Gallery of American Art

Prestigious Phillips Academy, a private secondary school in Andover, Massachusetts (founded in 1778), 24 miles (39 km) north of Boston Common (map), boasts a distinguished alumni roster, including both Presidents Bush and many leaders in politics, science, commerce and the arts.

It also boasts one of the finest collections of American art in the country: more than 17,000 works in all media—painting, sculpture, photography, drawings, prints, and decorative arts—from the 18th century to the present.

Works include those by Mark Bradford, Alexander Calder, John Singleton Copley, Stuart Davis, Arthur Dove, Thomas Eakins, Marsden Hartley, Hans Hofmann, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Maurice Prendergast, John Singer Sargent, Charles Sheeler, John Sloan, Frank Stella, John Twachtman, Kara Walker, and James McNeill Whistler.

Contemporary works include those by Carroll Dunham, Kerry James Marshall, Joel Shapiro, and Lorna Simpson.

The Addison's collection of nearly 7,600 photographs spans the history of American photography and includes extensive holdings of individual artists including Lewis Baltz, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, and Eadweard Muybridge. More...


Whistler House Museum of Art

Home of the Lowell Art Association in Lowell, 32 miles (51 km) north of Boston Common (map), the house was also the birthplace of James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903). Now a museum and gallery with a Victorian-style garden, it features a collection of 19th and early 20th century New England representational artists including Frank Weston Benson, Arshile Gorky, Aldro Hibbard, William Morris Hunt, William M Paxton, William Preston Phelps, and Arthur P Spear, as well as a collection of etchings by James McNeill Whistler. More...


Elizabeth Cassidy Folk Art Museum

Besides the Peabody Historical Society's rich trove of historical artifacts from Peabody's long history, it holds a collection of paintings, prints and drawings represents the work of artists from Peabody and the north shore of Massachusetts from the 18th through the 20th centuries, including works by Asa Bushby, Richard Ellery, and Charles Osgood, among others. The museum also has fine examples of Colonial, Federal and Victorian furniture and decorative arts that were made and/or used in Peabody between the 18th and 20th centuries, as well as 3700 items of costumes and textiles from the late 18th through 20th centuries. The Society's holdings also include early American pewter and glass, pottery, china, silver, and ceramics. More...


Cape Ann Museum

The Cape Ann Museum, at 27 Pleasant Street (map), is the result of a century and a half of collecting, organizing and exhibiting Cape Ann's history and art—and there is a lot of both. Originally housed in the historic Captain Elias Davis House, it has expanded into a fine modern annex. Many American artists who achieved renown came to Cape Ann for its light and scenery, especially Fitz Henry Lane and his conemporaries.

The museum also owns Cape Ann Museum Green, a four-acre campus off Grant Circle (MA Route 128) which holds two historic houses, a historic barn, and other facilities and exhibits. More...

Rocky Neck Art Colony

Artists' galleries are found all around Gloucester, especially in the art-colony neighborhood of Rocky Neck.


Beautiful Rockport on Cape Ann has been an artists' colony for a century: the light was right, the subjects interesting, and the living delightful.

Rockport Art Association & Museum

The association, in Rockport MA, organizes art workshops, classes, exhibits of work by living artists. Its museum has a good collection of works by Cape Ann artists.

South Shore & Cape Cod

Cape Cod has always attracted painters and sculptors—and still does. Provincetown is the best known and most highly-regarded artists' colony, but the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis is also fine. Plymouth and Duxbury have collections of note as well.

The museum in Plymouth recalls the Pilgrims in paintings, sculpture, and craft objects.


Cape Cod Museum of Art

Collections and exhibitions concentrate on the art and artists of Cape Cod, and the works that influenced them, including those of Arthur Bauman, Varujan Boghosian, Alexander Calder, Sal Del Deo, Edwin Dickinson, John Joseph Enneking, Joseph Eliot Enneking, R H Ives Gammell, Arnold Geissbuhler, Charles Hawthorne, Robert Henry, Henry Hensche, Hans Hofmann, Robert Douglas Hunter, Hilda Neily, Haynes Ownby, and Selina Trieff. More...


Art Complex Museum

Gifts of art, principally American landscape painting, by Carl A Weyerhaeuser and Edith Greenleaf Weyerhaeuser founded this collection, including works by George Bellows, Dennis Miller Bunker, Charles Burchfield, John Fabian Carlson, Jasper F Cropsey, John Joseph Enneking, Sanford Gifford, Lowell Birge Harrison, George Inness, Albert Insley, John Francis Murphy, Arthur Parton, John Singer Sargent, George Gardner Symons, Dwight W Tyron, Charles Woodbury, and others. More...

which include sculptures by George McGoff and Dale Rogers, prints by Leonard Baskin, Japanese works collected by Dr David Blau,


Pilgrim Hall Museum

Pilgrim Hall has arms and armor, furniture (chairs, chests, cradles), books, 17th- and 18th-century personal and household items, the remains of the Sparrow-Hawk (a 17th-century transatlantic ship), and paintings of historical scenes having to do with the Pilgrims' story. The oldest, by Abraham VerWer, was painted in the early 1600s; most date from the 1800s and 1900s. There are also portraits of people associated with the Mayflower and the Pilgrims. More...


Provincetown Art Association & Museum

Provincetown, at the tip of Cape Cod, has been a thriving artists' colony since the 1800s. The Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM), founded in 1914, is a professional association of 700 contemporary artists. Its collection of more than 3000 artworks by 700+ artists, was gathered over a century. More...

Worcester & Vicinity

In the 19th century, Worcester was an industrial powerhouse, producing wealth that often was spent on culture. The Worcester Art Museum has surprising collections of art from the Americas, Europe ancient and modern, China, Japan, Korea, and India, as well as of Pre-Columbian and Islamic art.

Worcester Art Museum 

The renowned Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury Street, just off Interstate 290 (map), will surprise you. It's one of those smaller museums with a comprehensive collection studded with masterpieces. Besides Edward Hicks's famous Peaceable Kingdom, you'll see Gauguin's Brooding Woman, Rembrandt's Saint Bartholomew, and Mary Cassatt's Woman Bathing.

Worcester Art Museum, Worcester MA
Worcester Art Museum.

The museum also holds the former Higgins Armory Museum's outstanding collection of arms and armor. With the closing of the Higgins' own building in 2013, the collection is on view through exhibits here at the art museum.

The collection ranges from ancient Chinese, Egyptian, and Sumerian objects through Roman statuary and mosaics, pre-Columbian artifacts, Japanese ukiyo-e prints, Korean art, Islamic art, and European paintings by the great masters, to American primitives and works by the great American painters including George Bellows, Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Cole, John Singleton Copley, Thomas Eakins, Ralph Earl, Childe Hassam, Winslow Homer, Charles Wilson Peale, John Singer Sargent, Charles Sheeler, Gilbert Stuart, Benjamin West, James Abbitt McNeill Whistler.

The photography collection boasts images by Matthew B Brady, Eadweard Muybridge, Charles Sheeler, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston and others.

The Worcester Art Museum has a pleasant café serving soups, salads and sandwiches, wine and beer.

MBTA Commuter Rail trains on the Framingham/Worcester line depart Boston's South Station about every hour on weekdays, every two hours on weekends, on the 1-3/4-hour trip to Worcester's South Station, a 1.1-mile (1.8-km) 25-minute walk south of the Worcester Art Museum.

The Icon Museum & Study Center

Talk about iconic... This superb collection of Russian Orthodox religious art is the life's work of Mr Gorden P Lankton, an engineer who traveled to Russia on business in 1989 and became fascinated by Orthodox religious art. His superb collection of paintings and other objects is now housed in historic buildings at 203 Union Street, Clinton MA. It's 50 miles (80.5 km) west of Boston, and 16 miles (26 km) northeast of Worcester (map), and well worth the detour if you have an interest in these fascinating works.

Fitchburg Art Museum 

A lively art center for the towns of Central Massachusetts 47 miles (76 km) northwest of Boston, Fitchburg Art, founded in 1925, has a collection of art objects including 19th Century American Art, photography, and art from Africa, Greece, Rome and Egypt. Exhibits are particularly strong in contemporary works and those by regional artists. Located at 185 Elm Street (map), it is less than a mile (1.1 km, 20-minute walk) northwest of the MBTA Commuter Rail Fitchburg Line train station. Check the hours of operation before you go.

Pioneer Valley

In the 19th century, the Connecticut River valley of central Massachusetts, known as the Pioneer Valley, saw cities such as Springfield become industrial powerhouses, producing wealth that often was spent on culture. Springfield's Museum Quad has strong collections with a great attraction for art connaisseurs. The colleges and universities of the Pioneer Valley also have collections: Amherst, Mount Holyoke, Smith, University of Massachusetts and more.


Mead Art Museum

Amherst College's fine arts museum features American and European paintings, Mexican ceramics, Tibetan scroll paintings, an English paneled room, ancient Assyrian carvings, Russian avant-garde art, West African sculpture, and Japanese prints. More...

Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

If you love picture book illustration, The Carle is for you: over 13,000 works by Ludwig Bemelmans, Ashley Bryan, Leo Lionni, Trina Schart Hyman, Arnold Lobel, Petra Mathers, Jerry Pinkney, Arthur Rackham, Allen Say, Maurice Sendak, William Steig, Simms Taback, Chris Van Allsburg, Rosemary Wells, Garth Williams, Margot Zemach, and many others. More...


Smith College Museum of Art

The Smith College collections include works from Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe; medieval and renaissance, modern, contemporary, and art by women. There's a good collection of French Impressionists including Paul Cézanne, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet, Edgar Degas, Jean-Léon Gérôme, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Georges Pierre Seurat, and Joseph Wright of Derby.

The North American collection includes, George Wesley Bellows, Albert Bierstadt, John singleton Copley, Thomas Eakins, Thomas Charles Farrer, Alfred Kappes, John Singer Sargent, Charles Sheeler, Dwight William Tryon, as well as Native American paintings, textiles and crafts; from Latin America, José Bedia, Ana Mendieta, Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo and others. More...

South Hadley

Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

With more than 17,000 artworks, the college's collection is substantial, with strengths in Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art, Medieval sculpture and early Italian Renaissance paintings, Dutch and Italian 17th-century paintings, Asian art, American paintings and sculpture, Pre-Columbian and Native American art, and an extensive collection of drawings, prints, and photographs. More...


Just northeast of Court Square in Springfield is the Museums Quadrangle, corner of State and Chestnut streets (map), a collection of five fine museums, including three dedicated to art.

At the entrance to the Quadrangle, in Merrick Park, is Augustus Saint Gaudens's statue of Deacon Samuel Chapin (1598-1675) called The Puritan.

George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum

By the age of 35, George W V Smith had made a fortune. For the rest of his life, he and his wife, Belle Townsley Smith, collected art, especially Chinese, Japanese and Middle Eastern art, and 19th-century American paintings. They left it all to this Springfield museum, and we are the inheritors. More...

Michele & Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts

The Michele & Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts was the result of a bequest by Mr & Mrs James Philip Gray for the “selection, purchase, preservation, and exhibition of the most valuable, meritorious, artistic, and high class oil paintings obtainable.”

The Art Deco museum, opened in 1934, features American art ranging from John Singleton Copley's Portrait of Nymphas Marston to Winslow Homer's Promenade on the Beach to Contemporary glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly, as well as America's only permanent museum gallery dedicated to the lithographs of Currier & Ives.

The European collection includes an intricate 15th-century Hispano-Flemish Fuentes Retable (altarpiece), and Dutch, Flemish, French and Italian paintings from the Renaissance to the 20th century. The Impressionism Gallery includes works by Degas, Gauguin, Monet, Pissarro and others.

The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum

Springfield native Theodore ("Ted") Seuss Geisel (1904-1991), author of the Dr Seuss children's books, would have loved this interactive museum which enhances the Dr Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden in Museum Quadrangle. If you have children who love the Dr Seuss characters, from the Cat in the Hat on, they will love this museum and garden.

Berkshire Hills

Summer colonies of artists and cognoscenti from Boston and New York assured that some towns in the Berkshire Hills have rich collections of art, from Chesterwood, the studio of famed sculptor Daniel Chester French, through the traditional Americana of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge to the avant-garde of North Adams's Mass MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art), and the gem of the Berkshires, the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown.



Daniel Chester French, sculptor of the Seated Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC, and The Minute Man at Old North Bridge, Concord MA, lived and worked at this Berkshire estate from 1897 until his death in 1931.

Chesterwood, studio & museum of Daniel Chester French's work in Stockbridge MA.
Chesterwood, studio & museum of Daniel Chester French's work in Stockbridge MA.

His sculpture studio remains as it was on the day of his death. A gallery of his work is on view as well. More...

Norman Rockwell Museum

America's most beloved illustrator of the 20th century lived and worked in Stockbridge from 1953 until his death in 1978. His museum here holds the world's largest collection of his work, beautifully displayed. Changing exhibits of current illustrators' works add to the attraction. More...

North Adams

MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art)

Once a factory complex producing textiles, and later electronics, this 13-acre (5.26-hectare) campus with 26 buildings is now one of the USA's foremost contemporary art museums with space for even the largest works.

Xu Bing's Phoenixes at MASS MoCA, North Adams MA.
Xu Bing's
Phoenixes. MASS MoCA is among the very few museums large enough to exhibit them.

Besides a series of ongoing exhibits including Sol LeWitt's dramatic painted walls, MASS MoCA offers changing exhibits and performances of music, dance, theater, film and video. It's a happening place. More...


Clark Art Institute

"The Clark" features European and American paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, and decorative arts from the Renaissance to the early20th century, especially rich in French Impressionist and Academic paintings, British oil sketches, drawings, and silver, and the work of American artists Winslow Homer, George Inness, and John Singer Sargent. This is the Berkshires' gem—don't miss it. More...

Williams College Museum of Art

The collection of 12,000 objects spans world history and cultures, but is particularly strong in American art from the late 1700s to the present, and especially since 1945, with works by Ida Applebroog, Lynda Benglis, Willem de Kooning, Jim Dine, Philip Guston, Ann Hamilton, Jenny Holzer, Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Robert Morris, Louise Nevelson, Philip Pearlstein, Adrian Piper, Robert Rauschenberg, Ad Reinhardt, Faith Ringgold, Larry Rivers, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, David Smith, Kiki Smith, Mark Tansey and Andy Warhol. Admission to the permanent collection is free. More...