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Spiritual Sustenance After Marathon Massacre: Free Admission Today at Two Boston Museums


Boston Institute of Contemporary Art
Photo by Lee Rosenbaum

The Boston Museum of Fine Arts this morning added the missing ingredient (which I had been hoping for) to last night’s message regarding its role as refuge for traumatized Bostonians.

This just in from the BMFA:

In response to the tragic events at yesterday’s Boston Marathon, general admission to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), will be free to the public [emphasis added] today, Tuesday, Apr. 16.  The Museum’s galleries and special exhibitions will be open for visitors who wish to find a place of respite during this painful time for our community.  Drop-in programs, including art-making activities, tours, and story hours for families and children, will also be available.

“Our entire community was affected by yesterday’s tragedy,” said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director. “We hope by opening the Museum’s doors and offering free admission we will be a place of comfort, refuge, and peace.”

And this message hit my inbox this morning from the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art (in response to the queries that I sent yesterday to the both the MFA and ICA):

We are deeply saddened by the tragic events that occurred yesterday during the Boston Marathon and our thoughts go out to the runners, friends, families, first responders, and all those impacted.

The ICA is open today. In an embrace of our Boston community and all those who seek solace in wake of yesterday’s tragedy, museum admission is free [emphasis added] for all visitors today. Our free school vacation week activities will continue as scheduled. Heightened security measures are in place to ensure the safety of our visitors and staff. As always, we hope the museum will offer a place of community and reflection.

I am never much moved by art museums’ unconvincing arguments and dubious statistical surveys regarding their financial benefits to their local economies. It’s their intrinsic benefits to their communities—the intellectual, emotional and spiritual sustenance that Boston museums are forefronting today—that most impress me and that should be the driver motivating robust public and private support for museums, both now and in the future.

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