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Museum of Fine Arts BostonOn November 20, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s much-anticipated Art of the Americas Wing officially opened to the public, and locals and visitors can’t get enough. When I visited the museum last weekend, the galleries were packed with people and there was a line outside of those just waiting to buy tickets. The new 121,000-square-foot wing – a project five years in the making – displays 5,000 works from the MFA’s collection.

The new American galleries showcase everything from Native American crafts to Paul Revere silver to 20th-century Abstract paintings. Standout pieces include the extensive John Singer Sargent collection on level 2 and the enormous “Passage of the Delaware” by Thomas Sully. The first-floor galleries were specially designed to fit the latter painting (shown above), which measures over 12 feet in height; this is the first time the painting has been displayed in its original frame.


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Definitely take the time to explore outside the main galleries, however. In the Ship Models and Maritime Arts room on the lower level, a set of drawers along one wall opens to reveal further artifacts like whale bone carvings and buried treasure (well, a collection of gold coins), a sure kid-pleaser. “Behind the scenes” exhibits on levels 1 and 2 show visitors how everything came together, from picking out wallpaper colors to arranging the art on the walls.


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Also abuzz this past weekend was the New American Café, another just-opened addition to the MFA in the three-story, glass-enclosed Shapiro Family Courtyard. Visitors were lined up to get a table at this casual eatery past 3pm the day I went. The restaurant features gourmet takes on classic American dishes (think fennel sausage pizza and a hand-carved turkey club), and even offers regional wines and microbrews. www.mfa.org

For general trip-planning information, see our Boston Travel Guide.

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