Somerville Theatre and MOBA Blog – Boston Duck Tours Front shot of the Somerville Theater
The Somerville Theatre in Davis Square is a unique, historic theatre over 100 years old – It was originally built in 1914 as a vaudeville house and movie theatre. In addition to digital releases of current and older films – the theatre can present virtually any film format including old 35 mm and 70mm film prints! They also have shows, live music, dance, and comedy performances, as well as silent films with live musical accompaniment! The theatre offers popcorn, pepsi-cola products, Ice Cream as well as Wine and Beer for legal guests over the age 21! You can grab some popcorn and a craft beer and go enjoy a film in one of the unique screening rooms.

The first time I went to the Somerville Theatre I was impressed with the aesthetic and being able to enjoy a glass of wine with my movie – but I wasn’t ready for the surprise two-for-one experience when I went downstairs in the theatre to use the restroom after the movie: Located in the basement of the theatre I discovered The Museum of Bad Art – a collection of absurdly terrible and also glorious pieces of weird art. It turns out The Museum Of Bad Art (MOBA) is “the world’s only museum dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition and celebration of bad art in all its forms” according to their website.

MOBA was founded in the fall of 1993 was originally housed in the basement of a private home in Boston. Once their collection started growing the Dedham Community Theatre allowed MOBA the use of their basement for their first permanent gallery, and sticking with the theme opened up their second gallery in the basement of The Somerville Theater. There is an additional gallery in Brookline and they now exhibit online, publish an email newsletter, and offer a book, Museum of Bad Art : Masterworks you can purchase for the art lover (or hater) in your life. They now have over 600 pieces in their permanent collection, displaying around 50-70 pieces throughout Boston at any given time.

Located in Davis Square, there are tons of things to do in the area including stores and places to eat, so a trip to the Somerville Theatre and the Museum of Bad Art is a fun, off the beaten path adventure to tell friends and family about!

Museum of Fine Arts Blog – Boston Duck Tours Back entrance to the Museum of Fine Arts
Image courtesy of mfa.org

One of my favorite places to visit in Boston is the Museum of Fine Arts – this massive museum originally opened on July 4, 1876 (the nation’s centennial) and the museum’s collection has nearly 500,000 works of art! You can spend as much or as little time as you desire wandering around the museum– there are permanent collections of work on display that I can return to as well as over 16 rotating exhibitions that change constantly and provide a brand new experience each time I visit. You can walk around on your own using their free map, or get a Mobile Guide (free for visitors who are deaf or blind) in which a selection of collection highlights are narrated in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and ASL – you can choose from a variety of different tours included one specifically geared towards children!

The permanent collections of the MFA include Art of the Americas, Art of Europe, Art of Asia, Art of Africa and Oceania, Art of the Ancient World, Photography, Prints & Drawings, Musical Instruments, a textiles collection, and even a jewelry collection. There is also a collection of Contemporary Art including even performance art: The MFA is actually one of the first encyclopedic museums in the US to fully integrate performance art into its collection, exhibitions, and programs – like performances that unfold in the Museum’s galleries and engage with its collection, works that form part of cross-media contemporary art exhibitions, as well as interventions that appear in unexpected spaces inside or outside of the Museum itself.

In addition to the permanent collections, the Museum offers over 16 different exhibitions at a time that stay for limited periods of time before making room for another visiting exhibition. These are what make the MFA a new experience each time, even for people like me who live locally, and there are a wide variety of current exhibitions that may peak your interest at the MFA right now: For example, “Matisse in the Studio” is the first major international exhibition to examine the importance of 20th century painter Henri Matisse’s personal collection of objects, which he believed was instrumental and inspirational to his studio practice. There is also an exhibition titled “Botticelli and the Search for the Divine” a collection of works by famous Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli, it is apparently the “largest and most important display of Botticelli’s works in the United States.” An exhibition titled “New Women for a New Age: Japanese Beauties, 1890s-1930’s examines the changing image of Japanese women through prints, book illustrations, and photographs made in Japan. There is even a new exhibit titled “David Ortiz: King of the Diamond” with all of David Ortiz World Series Championship rings on display for those Boston sports fans out there!

With all of these collections and exhibitions, as well as special events like studio art classes and lectures, you can absolutely find something at the MFA that sparks your interest. You can get some sustenance from one of the four dining options located at the museum, and you can grab a gift to take home at one of the 3 gift shops – no matter what exhibitions you check out, it will definitely be worth your time. The Museum is open 7 days a week, children under 6 are always free and children ages 7-17 are free on weekends and after 3 on weekdays.