Boston is home to a number of great museums. These museums include everything from art, history, science and technology. For museum lovers, there’s something for everyone in Boston. In addition, a handful of these museums are free.
The following is a full list of museums in Boston:
Ancient & Honorable Artillery Company Museum
Address: Faneuil Hall, 4th Floor, Government Center, Boston, Mass.
The Ancient & Honorable Artillery Company Museum is a free military museum run by the Ancient & Honorable Artillery Company, the oldest chartered military organization in the western hemisphere.
The museum features military artifacts, weaponry, uniforms and medals from various conflicts over the centuries dating as far back as the Revolutionary War.
Boston Children’s Museum
Address: 308 Congress Street, Boston, Mass.
The Boston Children’s Museum is a museum on Children’s Wharf at Fort Point Channel that is dedicated to the education of children.
The museum features an art studio, where families can create art together, as well as exhibits about topics like dinosaurs, construction, science, African-American history, Japanese culture and etc.
Established in 1913, it is the second oldest children’s museum in America. The museum was founded by the Science Teachers’ Bureau, a group of educators dedicated to providing new resources for teachers and students.
In 2013, the museum was awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Service.
Boston Fire Museum
Address: 344 Congress Street, Boston, Mass
The Boston Fire Museum is a museum about the history of firefighters in Boston and is located in a historic firehouse on Congress street. The museum features fire alarm displays and artifacts, firefighting equipment, historic fire engines, antique fire apparatus, and historic photographs.
The firehouse the museum is located in was built in 1891 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
Bunker Hill Museum
Address: 21 Second Ave, Charlestown, Mass
The Bunker Hill Museum is a museum dedicated to the history of the Battle of Bunker Hill during the Revolutionary War. The museum features exhibits on the Battle of Bunker Hill, the building of the Bunker Hill Monument and the history of Charlestown.
The museum was built in 2007 and is located across the street from the Bunker Hill Monument.
Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum
Address: 306 Congress Street, Boston, Mass
The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum is an interactive history museum that features live reenactments and multimedia exhibits.
Visitors reenact the Boston Tea Party by throwing fake tea chests into Boston Harbor from the deck of a replica ship, view historic artifacts from the actual event and watch a film that depicts the events of April 19, 1775, including Paul Revere’s famous “Midnight Ride” and the beginning of the American Revolution.
The current Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum was built in 2012 but the original Boston Tea Party Museum opened in 1973.
Edward M. Kennedy Museum for the United States Senate
Address: 210 Morrissey Blvd, Boston, Mass
The Edward M. Kennedy Museum is a specialty museum dedicated to educating the public about the important role of the Senate in the United States government.
The museum features exhibits about the history of the U.S. Senate, diversity and inclusion in the U.S. government, how a bill becomes a law, and how citizens can become more civically engaged.
The museum first opened in 2015.
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Address: 26 Oxford St, Cambridge, Mass
The Harvard Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum operated by Harvard University.
The museum features exhibits on dinosaurs, fossils, large mammals, minerals and gemstones as well as glass models of flowers, plants and sea creatures. The museum was founded in 1998.
Harvard Art Museums
Address: 32 Quincy St, Cambridge, Mass
The Harvard Art Museums are comprised of three art museums, the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum.
The museums feature 250,000 pieces in all media and include historic art as well as modern art. The pieces are from all over the world including Europe, North America, North Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia and Southeast Asia.
The Fogg Museum was founded in 1895, the Busch-Reisinger Museum was founded in 1903 and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum was founded in 1985.
Institute of Contemporary Art
Address: 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston, Mass
The Institute of Contemporary Art is an art museum with a mission to exhibit contemporary art.
The museum was established in 1936, as the Boston Museum of Modern Art, as a sister institution to New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Address: 25 Evans Way, Boston, Mass
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is an art museum that features an expansive collection of European, Asian and American art housed in a replica Venetian palace. It also features sculpture, tapestries, and decorative arts.
The museum was established in 1903 by Isabella Stewart Gardner, an art collector, philanthropist, and patron of the arts.
John F. Kennedy Library and Museum
Address: Columbia Point, Boston, Mass
The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum is a library and museum dedicated the legacy of President John F. Kennedy.
The library is the official repository for original papers and correspondence of the Kennedy Administration and the museum features various permanent exhibits about topics such as Kennedy in his youth, Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign, his speeches and press conferences, his inauguration, his state visit to Europe, his ceremonial and state events, the Peace Corps, the U.S. Space program, gifts from heads of state, an exhibit on Attorney General Robert Kennedy, an exhibit on the Oval Office, an exhibit on First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and an exhibit on the Kennedy family.
The museum was established in 1979.
Address: 200 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, Mass
The Mapparium is a three-story tall globe made of stained glass that visitors view from a 30-foot-long bridge inside the globe. The globe is located at the Mary Baker Eddy Library.
The Mapparium also features an original multi-media presentation that illustrates how ideas have traversed time and geography and changed the world.
The Mapparium was built in 1935 by the architect of the Christian Science Publishing Society building, Chester Lindsay Churchill, as a symbol for the global outreach of The Christian Science Monitor, which was a news publication founded by Mary Eddy Baker in 1908.
Address: 265 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, Mass
The MIT Museum is a technology museum located at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The museum features exhibits on holographs, robotics, maritime history, artificial intelligence and the history of MIT. The museum was founded in 1971.
Museum of Fine Arts
Address: Avenue of the Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, Mass
The Museum of Fine Arts is an art museum that is home to nearly 450,000 works of art, which makes it one of the most comprehensive collections in the Americas.
It features 8,161 paintings as well as a collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts as well as a collection of Native American, Dutch, Chinese and Japanese art.
The museum was established in 1876.
Museum of Science
Address: 1 Science Park, Boston, Mass
The Museum of Science is a science museum and indoor zoo. It features over 700 interactive exhibits and a number of live presentations as well as shows at the Charles Hayden Planetarium and the Mugar Omni Theater, which is the only domed IMAX screen in New England.
The museum, which is also an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, was established in 1830.
Museum of African-American History
Address: 46 Joy Street, Boston, Mass
The Museum of African-American History is a history museum about African-American history in Boston. The museum features two historic buildings, the Abiel Smith School and the African-American Meetinghouse.
The Abiel Smith School was founded in 1835 as the first public school for free African-Americans. The African-American Meeting House was built in 1806 and is now the oldest African-American church in America. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
Nichols House Museum
Address: 55 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, Mass
The Nichols House Museum is a historic house where landscape gardener, suffragist and pacifist Rose Standish Nichols lived.
The museum features original art and furnishings that provide a glimpse into life in Beacon Hill from the mid 19th to mid 20th century.
The house is a four-story Federal-style townhouse that was originally built in 1808. In 1885, Dr. Arthur Nichols purchased the house for his wife and daughters. His eldest daughter, Rose Standish Nichols, lived in the home until her death in 1960.
The house was then opened to the public as a historic house museum in 1961.
Old State House Museum
Address: 206 Washington Street, Boston, Mass
The Old State House Museum is a history museum located in the Old State House. The museum features exhibits about the history of the American Revolution in Boston, the Boston Massacre, the Council Chamber where the Royal Governor of Massachusetts met with members of his Council in the Old State House and the history of the building itself.
The Old State House was built in 1713 and was the seat of the Massachusetts General Court until 1798.
The museum opened in the Old State House in 1881 and the building was designated a National Landmark in 1960.
Otis House Museum
Address: 141 Cambridge Street, Boston, Mass
The Otis House Museum is a historic house where local politician Harrison Gray Otis lived with his wife and children. The house is a Federal-style mansion built by architect Charles Bullfinch in 1796.
The house was originally built in front of its present location but was moved back a distance of 43 feet to make way for a street widening project in 1925. As a result, it is one of the last remaining buildings from what used to be Bowdoin Square.
The house features historic wallpaper and furnishings and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970.
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology
Address: 11 Divinity Ave, Cambridge, Mass
The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is a museum about archeology. The museum features 1.2 million objects, 2000 maps and 500,000 photographs in its archeological collections from around the world, including North America, Central America, South America, Asia, Africa, Oceania and Europe.
The museum was founded in 1866, making it one of the oldest archeology museums in America.
Paul Revere House
Address: 19 North Square, Boston, Mass
The Paul Revere House is a historic house where Paul Revere lived during the American Revolution.
About 90 percent of the house is original and the museum features late 18th century furnishings, including several pieces that belonged to the Revere family.
The house was built in 1680 on the site of the former parsonage of the Second Church of Boston, which was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1676. Paul Revere purchased the home in 1770 and lived there with his family in 1880.
In 1902, Revere’s great-grandson, John P. Reynolds purchased the home and opened it to the public as a house museum in 1908. The house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961.
USS Constitution Museum
Address: Building 22, Charlestown Navy Yard, Charlestown, Mass
The USS Constitution Museum is a museum about the historic USS Constitution ship. The museum features exhibits on topics such as the role of the ship in the War of 1812, the history of the ship during war and peacetime, its crew and etc.
The museum, which opened in 1972, is housed in a restored shipyard building at the foot of pier 2 at the Charlestown Naval Yard, where the USS Constitution is docked.
Warren Anatomical Museum
Address: 10 Shattuck St #3, Boston, Mass
The Warren Anatomical Museum is a medical museum at Harvard University that features a collection of anatomical and pathology specimens.
The museum was founded in 1847 by Harvard anatomist and surgeon John Collins Warren to preserve his personal collection of 160 instructive anatomical and pathological specimens. The collection has since grown to 15,000 specimens.
Metropolitan Waterworks Museum
Address: 2450 Beacon St, Chestnut Hill, Mass
The Metropolitan Waterworks Museum is a museum about the historic Chestnut Hill Waterworks pumping station located in the old pumping station.
The Chestnut Hill Waterworks pumping station was built in 1887 and pumped the water for Boston until the supply source was shifted to the Quabbin Reservoir in the 1970s.
William Hickling Prescott House
Address: 55 Beacon St, Boston, Mass
The William Hickling Prescott House is a historic house where historian William Hickling Prescott during the 19th century.
The house was built in 1808 for a Boston merchant. It was sold to Prescott in 1847 and remained in the Prescott family until the 1940s when it was purchased by the National Society of Colonial Dames with the goal of preserving it and opening it as a house museum.
In 1964, the house was designated a National Historic Landmark.
For more information on Boston, check out this article on Boston attractions.
Sessa, Andrew. “12 Best Museums in Boston Museums You’ll Want to Visit.” Conde Nast Traveler, 4 Oct. 2019, www.cntraveler.com/gallery/best-museums-in-boston
Bilis, Madeline. “Seven House Museums to Visit Within City Limits.” Boston Magazine, Aug. 2. 2018, www.bostonmagazine.com/property/2018/08/02/house-museums-boston/