Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Safari #23: The MFA's New Wing - in Context

Context is everything - the time, the place, and the setting working together to bring you a well-rounded understanding of an object or event.  I recently visited the new Art of the Americas wing at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) alongside a docent from Context Travel, a company that specializes in unique tours which do exactly that.

I had the pleasure of taking a stroll through the new wing with Tricia Hastings, an engaging and knowledgeable docent who made the experience of visiting the new wing take on a different dimension. In the three hours I spent with Tricia, I learned more about the museum than all of my individual visits combined.

As a non-Massachusetts native, Tricia's tour of the John Singleton Copley gallery was incredibly informative for me.  While Copley was initially known for his idealized portrait paintings of wealthy Bostonians, his political tendencies came to light in his famous portrait of Paul Revere who appears to foreshadow the coming revolution.  Placed near the portrait is Revere's Sons of Liberty Bowl, which was brought to the MFA thanks to contributions from local school children in 1949.  As a courtesy to young viewers, the bowl has been placed on display at the eye level of a child - a nice touch.

If you're looking for a more than meets the eye view of local art and other Boston sights, be sure to visit Context's website for more information.  With spring just around the corner and potential guests heading to town for a visit, there's no better time than the present to plan your outings now.

Other Thoughts:

  • Don't miss the Behind the Scenes Galleries.  These special galleries are located on each floor in the rear of the new wing and offer a more detailed installation based upon a theme from one of the larger viewing rooms. 
  • Note the furniture arrangement in the new displays.  To allow viewers to come into closer contact with objects, museum designers created displays that would mimic the interiors of the day including, furniture, textiles, and lighting.   
  • Learn more about the MFA's benefactors.  With updated displays and informational kiosks, it's easier than ever to learn more about how the museum acquired its famous pieces and the individuals who selflessly donated them.
*If you have time, visit the 3rd floor of the new wing and view the modern art.  In the photography room, you'll have the opportunity to view my favorite piece - Edward Weston's Pepper no. 30


  1. We're so happy to hear you enjoyed your time with Tricia! The new wing is truly spectacular and definitely worth a prolonged visit.

  2. Thanks for sharing this post. This is great you enjoyed and galleries are really awesome no one can miss such things.