This article is the second in a three part series celebrating Boston’s landmarks as part of our fall “Boston as landscape” programming theme. Hear from several of our educators who love our incredible city and all it has to offer.
By Samantha Krenzer, Old North Foundation educator
Known for its fast pace and a past steeped in history, Boston is a landscape of such diversity that there is an activity for everyone, whether it be shopping along Newbury Street or climbing the steps of Bunker Hill. It is a bastion of all things cultural and nowhere is that more evident than at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). Located along Huntington Avenue, the museum has been a destination for art appreciators since the late 1800s. However, when I visit I find it to be much more than marble halls filled with untouchable artifacts; rather, I find it to be a place that inspires the curious and embodies the ideals of diversity which I have come to associate with Boston.
As a child I was fascinated by Ancient Egypt and all things having to do with pyramids and mummies; and while I have never traveled to Egypt, I have crawled my way through tombs via exhibits in the MFA. I have also run with lions, tigers and bears, all while visiting the MFA.
On my most recent trip to the MFA, I had the opportunity to share this sense of adventure with family. It was a relatively cold day and they did not wish to spend time outdoors, so my cousin’s fiancé suggested a visit to the MFA, which I heartily agreed to, and despite our varying interests, we were still able to enjoy the museum together. Said fiancé was more into contemporary art, so he insisted we visit the gallery with the Jackson Pollock paintings; my cousin April loves horses and is a rider, so she insisted on taking a photo next to a painting which depicted both. As my favorite object, I chose an old favorite: a portrait of Paul Revere by John Singleton Copley hanging in the Art of the Americas wing. For those interested in all things quirky and ironic, this painting may prove worthy of a pilgrimage, for not only it is the portrait of a national hero, but it is a portrait made famous by its supposed appearance on a beer which is brewed right here in Boston. According to a Duck Tour guide I had, urban legend holds that Samuel Adams was not thought good looking enough to grace the bottle of an award-winning beer, so it was decided to use Paul Revere’s image instead.
So many interesting facts can be discovered through a visit to this museum, making it essential to any tour in the city. Not only does the MFA foster an appreciation of art, but it also encourages the sense of adventure in all of us, and allows visitors to explore worlds miles beyond Boston. Although known more for its history and such iconic sites as our very own Old North Church and also perhaps its sports teams, Boston is so much more, and nowhere is that more evident than at the MFA.
Samantha Krenzer was born and raised in Massachusetts and enjoys studying as well living history. An avid reader, she cannot resist a comfy chair and a great novel, especially when they come paired with coffee. Having gone to school at the University of Mary Washington, she thinks of Virginia as a second home and admits to calling Mount Vernon her favorite historic house museum. When not reading or visiting museums, she can be found antiquing, an activity she enjoys doing with her mom.