For Bostonians, celebrating Martin Luther King Day means a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts—at no charge.

Boston mayor Marty Walsh spoke as Bostonians of all ages, ethnicities, and racial backgrounds packed the galleries on a chilly holiday Monday.

The mayor didn’t just speak—he actually did a little artwork himself, adding the first splashes of color to the Artists for Humanities community mural, which will be donated to City Hall.

The museum also offered tours, talks, and walks, all for free, including ASL-led and ASL-interpreted tours.

Boston feels a special sense of connection with Dr. King, who did his post-graduate work at Boston University and lived in the city for many years.

The MFA also offered musical performances and gallery tours highlighting works by artists of color.

In addition, students from the MFA’s 10 Community Arts Initiative partners got to display their artworks at the Museum, perhaps kicking off a lifetime of creative endeavor to some of the young people.

Free days at museums don’t happen by themselves; Citizens Bank has sponsored the MFA’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Open House for the past 16 years.

That means 110,000 visitors have been able to stroll the galleries at no charge since 2003.

Typically, we think of museums as places for teens and up, but the MFA does everything it can to welcome young visitors.

On Monday, children from across Boston participated in art-making activities inspired by photographs of diverse families.

If you missed the Open House, there are four more each year, with Lunar New Year, celebrated on Saturday, February 10th, coming up next.

Children sketching at the MFA
Children sketching at the MFA


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