WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Two Berkshire County museums bookend the Highland Street Foundation's ninth annual Free Fun Fridays initiative, a summer program that offers visitors no-cost admission to many of the most treasured cultural venues in Massachusetts.
Eighty-five institutions, from art museums to zoos, will join the program, an increase from the 80 venues that took part in 2016. This summer, each week for 10 consecutive Fridays — beginning June 23 and continuing through Aug. 25 — multiple venues will welcome visitors, free-of-charge.
"Free Fun Fridays provides access to the best exhibits, programs and experiences that the city and the commonwealth have to offer," Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said. "I join the Highland Street Foundation in encouraging residents from across Boston and around the state to take advantage of our rich cultural community by participating in Free Fun Fridays."
On June 23, the Clark Art Institute offers free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to start the summer-long series. Wrapping up the series on Aug. 25 is Mass MoCA. In between, there are several more Berkshire institutions, including Hancock Shaker Village and the Berkshire Museum, as well as several Trustees of Reservations sites, that are part of the program.
Since its inception in 2009, Free Fun Fridays has drawn more than 1,000,000 visitors to venues throughout the commonwealth. Last year alone, the program reached more than 160,000 people with many partner institutions, such as The Mount in Lenox, The Old State House in Boston, Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich and the EcoTarium in Worcester, experiencing record-breaking attendance.
According to Executive Director Blake Jordan, the Highland Street Foundation expects that those numbers will increase again this year with the program's expansion.
"The summer of 2017 marks the most extensive Free Fun Fridays yet and we are excited to welcome a number of new venues, from the Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston, to the Berkshire Theatre Group, Maritime Gloucester on the North Shore and the Smith College Museum of Art in Northampton," Jordan said. "Reaching the 1,000,000 visitor milestone last year was a real testament to Free Fun Fridays impact. The Highland Street Foundation remains committed to enriching the lives of people of every age and background by providing easy access to the diverse cultural institutions that call Massachusetts home."
Each year, Highland Street Foundation partners with venues in every corner of the state to open their doors for free. In the past eight years, the Free Fun Fridays program has represented an investment of more than $4 million in the commonwealth's vibrant cultural community. Free Fun Fridays is one of many programs created and supported by the Highland Street Foundation to increase access and opportunities for children and families throughout Massachusetts.
A complete list of all participating venues and dates is below. To learn more about the Free Fun Fridays, and the Highland Street Foundation, visit the website and we well as Facebook and Twitter.
June 23: Lyric Stage Company of Boston; Mary Baker Eddy Library; The Sports Museum; Clark Art Institute; The Mount: Edith Wharton’s Home; Worcester Art Museum; Peabody Essex Museum; The Discovery Museums.
June 30: Boston Children’s Museum; MIT Museum; Norman Rockwell Museum; Springfield Museums; EcoTarium; Maritime Gloucester; New Bedford Whaling Museum; The Gardens at Elm Bank (Mass Hort).
July 7: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; New England Historic Genealogical Society; Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum; Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center; Amelia Park Children's Museum; Falmouth Museums on the Green; Pilgrim Hall Museum; Children’s Museum in Easton; The Hall at Patriot Place.
July 14: Edward M. Kennedy Institute; The Metropolitan Waterworks Museum; Harvard Museums of Science & Culture; Larz Anderson Auto Museum; Provincetown Art Association and Museum; Edward Gorey House; Museum of Russian Icons; Cape Ann Museum.
July 21: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Tanglewood; Boston Athenaeum; The Museum of the NCAAA; Fruitlands Museum, The Trustees; Spellman Museum of Stamps & Postal History; Lynn Museum; Hancock Shaker Village; Sandwich Glass Museum.
July 28: JFK Presidential Library and Museum; Commonwealth Museum; Arnold Arboretum; The Eric Carle Museum; Berkshire Theatre Group; Historic Deerfield; Cape Cod Museum of Art; Wenham Museum; Tower Hill Botanic Garden.
Aug. 4: Commonwealth Shakespeare Company; Old State House; The Greenway Carousel; Fort Devens Museum; Children's Museum at Holyoke; International Volleyball Hall of Fame; The Old Manse, The Trustees; JFK Hyannis Museum.
Aug. 11: Franklin Park Zoo; Fuller Craft Museum; Cape Cod Maritime Museum; Worcester Historical Museum; Griffin Museum of Photography; Fitchburg Art Museum; Jacob's Pillow Dance; Smith College Museum of Art; Naumkeag, The Trustees.
Aug. 18: The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston; Old Sturbridge Village; Freedom Trail Foundation; Buttonwood Park Zoo; Cape Cod Children’s Museum; Concord Museum; Berkshire Museum; Emily Dickinson Museum.
Aug. 25: Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park; USS Constitution Museum; Plimoth Plantation; MASS MoCA; Nantucket Whaling Museum; The Children's Museum of Greater Fall River; Museum of African American History; Cape Cod Museum of Natural History; Heritage Museums & Gardens.
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