UMass students and staff gain free admission to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

University now a member of the MFA’s University Membership Program

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UMass students and staff gain free admission to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

By Chris McLaughlin, Assistant News Editor

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Beginning in summer 2019, University of Massachusetts students, staff and faculty have free entry to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

This past August, UMass agreed to join the MFA’s University Membership Program. The program, according to UMass News & Media Relations, provides a complimentary ticket per day into the museum and its various exhibits to those with a UMass valid ID, including a UCard.

Tickets are not limited to solely undergraduate students as graduate students and continuing education students are also included, the statement said.

The statement specified that “effective immediately” those who qualify, including members of the Mount Ida campus, will be provided access to “one of the most comprehensive art museums in the world.”

“I love being able to go to the MFA whenever I have some free time,” said Samantha Woolf, a junior studying journalism at Emerson College, whose students also receive free admission.

“I’ve been able to expose myself to art, history, culture and more,” she added. “Taking advantage of free admission is great for a college student like me who is saving money. It’s awesome that I don’t have to worry about cost when I want to go to the MFA.”

The museum, located along the city’s Huntington Avenue, was founded in 1870 and opened its doors in 1876 on the nation’s centennial. It features“nearly 500,000 works of art” in exhibits ranging in antiquity from ancient Egypt to contemporary.

Welcoming “more than one million visitors each year,” the MFA offers guests the opportunity to view art originating from all corners of the world, including from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. Types of art featured vary from paintings to sculptures, pottery, jewelry, musical instruments, textiles and photography, among others.

“I really like that the MFA has so many different types of exhibits from ancient art to modern photography. And I love that new exhibits are added all the time which keeps me coming back,” Woolf said.

Over 30 other Massachusetts member colleges and universities qualify in the free entry program and range alphabetically from the Art Institute of Boston to Wheaton College, according to the University Membership’s webpage.

Other members include notable institutions such as Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tufts University, with varying qualifications for student free access depending on each individual school.

UMass Boston is the only other participating UMass campus and free entry is only available for undergraduate students enrolled there.

“As a MassArt student I have free access to the MFA as well as Boston’s other art museums,” said Alyssa Moore, a sophomore at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. “Obviously as an art student, the MFA is an invaluable resource, and it’s only a quick walk from my campus. My professors have taken my classes many times to see art or exhibits that expand upon what we’re learning in class. I’ve had projects based on paintings and exhibits there. It’s a great place to go for research, inspiration, or just to relax for an hour and explore.

“One of my favorite things is that even though the MFA is one of the largest and most well-known art museums in the U.S., I feel like it’s become an extension of my ‘home’ in Boston.”

“Being in a creative major is really draining,” said Julie Martin, a senior studying animation at MassArt. “Every week we have to come up with a new idea and make art. I have times during the semester where I feel like I have no ideas and feel super unmotivated. My best advice for artists who feel like this is to go to a museum and immerse yourself with great art.

“I love that I am able to teach my friends about art and have such an amazing opportunity to learn about fine art around the world. The [MFA’s] collection is so diverse and has art everyone can relate to.”

Other savings UMass students, staff and faculty can expect include a 10 percent discount on purchases at shops within the MFA upon presentation of ID, in addition to $5 tickets for “regularly priced films, lectures and concerts,” according to the UMass press release.

For Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Celebrity Lectures and special film screenings tickets cost $10.

Certain colleges and universities in New Hampshire and Maine participate in similar programs as schools in Massachusetts titled the McLane Family New Hampshire Student Membership Program and the Lunder Maine Student Membership Program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, respectively.

For the New Hampshire program Granite State students of all ages in public and private schools and even those who are home schooled are allowed to visit the MFA free of charge.

To discover all applicable schools and eligibility see the MFA’s University Membership page.

Chris McLaughlin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @ChrisMcLJournal.