Free admission, things to do at Boston-area museums

Sculpture at deCordova.
Sculpture at deCordova.

The Boston area is home to many renowned art museums — many of which can be enjoyed for free, if you know when to go. Here’s a sampling of free admission times and free events, with something for children, teens, and everyone else.

Museum of Fine Arts Admission is free to everyone on Wednesdays after 4 p.m., and always free to children 17 and under. The MFA also offers a host of free midweek events ranging from drawing sessions to specialized gallery talks, such as “The Hardanger Fiddle of Norway” led by Mariel Vandersteel, 6-7 p.m., Dec. 5. 465 Huntington Ave., Boston. Mon.- Tue. 10 a.m.-4:45 p.m.; Wed.-Fri. 10 a.m.-9:45 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-4:45 p.m. 617-267-9300,

The Institute of Contemporary Art The ICA hosts Free Thursday Nights, 5-9 p.m.; ICA Play Dates, which offer families free museum admission and art-inspired activities, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., the last Saturday of each month; and ICA Teen Nights, with performances, conversations, and art-making activities designed by teens for teens, scheduled about four times a year. 100 Northern Avenue, Boston. Tue.-Wed
10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thu.-Fri. 10 a.m.-
9 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 617-478-3100,


DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum On the first Wednesday of each month, the deCordova — which comprises exhibits over 35 acres — is free to the public. But bicyclists always get in free. 51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln. Tue.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 781-259-8355,

Harvard Art Museums
Kerry James Marshall, Untitled (detail of three panels), 1998, with 2007 additions.
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Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum While renovations are underway in Harvard’s art museums, the Sackler remains open, with free admission before noon on Saturdays for Massachusetts residents (be sure to bring a government-issued ID). An extensive range of free events includes several “ArtisTalk” lectures and recitals performed on Harvard’s 1958 D.A. Flentrop organ. 485 Broadway, Cambridge. Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 617-495-9400,

Detail of Barbara Bosworth photo at PEM.

Peabody Essex Museum Salem residents, museum members, and youth 16 and under always get in free. On Nov. 9, photographer Barbara Bosworth presents “Birds in Focus,” a free program featuring birds and their habitats, as well as a tour of her featured exhibition, “Natural Histories, Photographs by Barbara Bosworth.” 161 Essex Street, Salem. Tue.-Sun.
10 a.m.-5 p.m. 978-745-9500,

Worcester Art Museum Admission is always free to children 17 and under, and free for all 10 a.m.-noon on the first Saturday of each month. In honor of Veterans Day, veterans are admitted free on Nov. 10 and 11. 55 Salisbury St., Worcester. Wed.-Fri. 11 a.m.-
5 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun.
11 a.m.-5 p.m.; third Thu. of every month 11 a.m.-8 p.m. 508-799-4406,

Shady Lane Productions.
Part of an installation on view in "A Generous Medium, Photography at Wellesley 1972-2012" at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College through December 9, 2012.

Davis Museum at Wellesley College Admission is always free. Among the free events are an Oct. 24 panel discussion and artist talk by An-My Lê, Vietnamese-American photographer and video artist, to celebrate the opening of the exhibition “Provisional Aesthetics.” The museum’s “Photogs on Film” series also runs monthly through the end of the year. 106 Central St., Wellesley. Tue.-Sat. 11 a.m.-
5 p.m.; Sun. noon-4 p.m. 781-283-2051, www.davismuseum.


McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College Admission is always free, with docent tours available every Sunday at 2 p.m. 140 Commonwealth Ave. (Devlin Hall 108) Chestnut Hill. Mon.-Fri. 11-a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. noon-5 p.m. 617-552-8100,


Jessica Teich can be reached at