The winter months are my favorite time of year to visit local museums. They provide a respite from the cold and snow as well as a great way to interact with friends. According to the Boston Magazine daily blog, several of Boston’s leading cultural institutions have raised and spent significant amounts of money to upgrade their collections and infrastructure in the past 10 yrs.
Some of these projects have made national headlines such as the opening of the new Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) museum on Boston’s south waterfront in 2006. This was the first new art museum to be built in the city in nearly 100 years and the iconic building has drawn 1,000,000 visitors.
At the same time, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) embarked on an audacious expansion, raising more than $500 million to build the New America’s wing; a four story building that has 51,000 square feet and houses 53 new galleries. The new wing opened November 2010.
Last week, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum completed a $114 million expansion, opening a very modern looking new glass building that adds 70,000 square feet of exhibit space. The new space is a stark contrast to the original building which is a replica of a Venetian palace.
Across the river in Cambridge, Harvard University is re-building the school’s three art museums to bring together the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum into one state-of-the-art facility. Construction is expected to be completed in 2013.
If you are visiting the Boston area or if you happen to live here and have not visited one of these venerable institutions, won’t you consider checking them out? These institutions have built some world class facilities that are housing incredible works of art. Good art evokes emotion and generates dialog – you may be surprised by how much you enjoy yourself.