Free Fun Fridays Coming Back for 10th Season
A record 100 cultural venues across Massachusetts will open their doors for free on Fridays this summer, marking the 10th anniversary of Free Fun Fridays, funded by the Highland Street Foundation to offer visitors no-cost access to museums, theaters, historic sites, archives and treasured collections.
Free Fun Fridays 2018 will take place for 10 consecutive Fridays — beginning June 29 and continuing through August 31 — with 100 venues welcoming visitors in a free-of-charge public celebration of culture and history that is unprecedented outside of the national museums in Washington, D.C.
Over the course of the past decade, the Newton-based Highland Street Foundation, a family-directed organization dedicated to expanding opportunities for Massachusetts children and families, has invested $6.2 million in cultivating a game-changing opportunity for families and the state’s cultural institutions, both small and large.
"When we started Free Fun Fridays, the goal was simple: make it free, make it fun and make it happen on Friday," Highland Street Foundation Executive Director Blake Jordan said. "Now in its 10th year, Free Fun Fridays are here to offer enrichment, entertainment and education in every region of the state. In 2018, we are proud to offer the most extensive list of participating venues ever. It is going to be a great summer."
Since it was launched in 2009, Free Fun Fridays have drawn more than 1.2 million visitors to a range of institutions celebrating arts, culture and history that ranges from classical to contemporary, from the official to the off-beat.
For visitors, there are an abundance of collected treasures, from the classical to the offbeat. Visitors can take in the Dutch Masters at the Museum of Fine Arts, trace the hunt for Moby Dick at the New Bedford Whaling Museum or learn more about early Boston at the Museum of African American History. Then there are unique collections of The Telephone Museum, in Waltham, the New England Quilt Museum, in Lowell, the Larz Anderson Auto Museum, in Brookline, and the Spellman Museum of Stamps & Postal History, in Weston.
At the Children's Museum, Free Fun Fridays have helped bring more Boston-area children and families through the doors each summer. The Smith College Museum of Art says Free Fun Fridays attendance outpaces traditional Friday attendance. At the Griffin Museum of Photographer in Winchester, admissions quadruple.
This year there are free musical and dramatic performances at Jacob's Pillow, Berkshire Theatre Group, Lyric Stage Company of Boston, Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company and Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood.
"It is very important to keep our children active and productive during the summer months," Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said. "Free Fun Fridays are a great opportunity for kids and families in Boston and throughout the commonwealth to spend time together participating in fun activities while learning at the same time."
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. For a complete list of venues and dates, visit the website. The following Berkshire County venues are participating:
June 29: Berkshire Theatre Group, The Mount, Clark Art Institute
July 6: Hancock Shaker Village
July 13: Chesterwood, Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum, Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
July 27: Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood
Aug. 3: Naumkeag
Aug. 10: Jacob's Pillow
Aug. 17: Berkshire Museum
Aug. 24: Mass MoCA
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