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MFA Reopens Art of the Ancient World Gallery with Free Admission

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Venue:Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA)
Dates:Saturday, December 18, 2021
Hours:10:00am - 5:00pm
Ages:Kids, Teens, Adults
Opening December 18, five newly transformed galleries at the heart of the MFA’s George D. and Margo Behrakis Wing for Art of the Ancient World will invite visitors to explore nearly 550 objects from one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of Classical art in the world.

Free general admission tickets available online beginning December 14 at 10 am until 10 am day of; also available in person on a first-come, first-served basis.

The new galleries of art of ancient Greece, Rome, and the Byzantine empire feature some of the oldest works in the MFA’s collection telling new stories and reflecting our time through the art of the past.

Highlights include:

--An immersive gallery dedicated to gods and goddesses, anchored by the Museum’s 13-foot statue of Juno;

--A Byzantine gallery—the first of its kind in New England—showcasing a geographically diverse collection of works ranging from the era of Emperor Constantine the Great in the 4th century to the fall of Constantinople in 1453;

--A gallery focused on Roman portraiture where visitors will encounter the faces of emperors and those of everyday individuals;

--A gallery dedicated to early Greek art, a formative period, which will include the frieze blocks from the 6th-century Temple of Athena at Assos in Turkey, a rare example of Greek temple architecture in a U.S. art museum;

--A gallery of modern and contemporary works within the wing—the first such space in a major U.S. art museum—exploring the response to ancient art by 20th- and 21st-century artists. The first of the multiyear rotations features the works of the modern master Cy Twombly (1928–2011); and

--The use of a wide range of technology designed to create more engaging and memorable visitor experiences.

With freshly imagined spaces that include natural light, innovative displays, interactive experiences, and immersive evocations of an ancient Greek temple and a Byzantine church, visitors of all ages can learn about the legacies of these ancient cultures and understand their relevance today.

Gallery Factoids

1) When preparing a Bust of Demeter for gallery display, the MFA’s Conservation team determined the object was too fragile to withstand the usual mount-making process.

For the first time ever, the Museum utilized 3D-printing technology for the purpose of preserving art, building a replica of the bust with Somerville, Mass.-based formlabs to ensure the delicate object would not have to be handled more than necessary. The 3D-printed bust will be repurposed for the MFA’s accessibility program Feeling for Form, which serves blind and low-vision visitors.

2) A brand-new digital reconstruction of the 6th-century Temple of Athena at Assos displayed alongside two original frieze blocks illuminates the monumentality of this early Greek architecture. Projected as a backdrop for the frieze blocks is newly recorded footage from Turkish videographers of the archaeological site at Assos, Turkey.

3) Using learnings from multispectral imaging and scientific research, a digital reconstruction experienced through both an Augmented Reality (AR) component in the MFA’s mobile app and an in-gallery video allows visitors to see what the original painted decoration on a statue of Athena Parthenos looked like, recreating how people in ancient times saw their gods in color. For this project, the MFA collaborated with Black Math, a Boston-based production company and art studio.

4) Produced in partnership with Zedem Media, an animation studio based in Cyprus, the MFA’s first-ever animated video follows an Athenian painter and his apprentice, bringing to life the development of the black- and red-figure techniques.

There are many amazing museums to visit in Boston - peruse our Boston Museums guide to find out which one you should visit next.



465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA map
Phone: (617) 267-9300


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