6 Must-See Fall Museum Exhibits for Families Around Boston

Boston museum exhibits for kids 2017

Sometimes all we want as parents is to inject a little culture into our kids' (as well as our own) lives without hearing protests against a "boring" museum excursion. Lucky for us this fall, several of our region's great museums have new exhibits that have special appeal for the grade-school set. Here's a sampling of what we're excited to check out.

See classic horror movie posters at It's Alive. Photos courtesy of the museum

It’s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection
Peabody Essex Museum - Salem
August 12, 2017 through November 26, 2017
This exhibit is win-win for everyone in the family; kids get to explore this collection of creepy-cool sci-fi posters and parents can appreciate that the collection is owned by Metallica guitarist Kurt Hammett. This exhibition includes 135 works from 20th century cinema, including posters, rare works by unidentified artists, electric guitars, lobby cards, film props, and costumes.

Mark Dion's "The Package" features X-rays and cardboard shipping boxes containing unknown objects. Photo courtesy the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York

Mark Dion: Misadventures of a 21st-Century Naturalist
Institute of Contemporary Art - Boston
October 4, 2017 through January 1, 2018
Kids and parents alike will enjoy these installations by Mark Dion including a child's dinosaur-themed bedroom as well as a tree full of books (and live birds!). Kids aged two and up can pick up a free pack at the Visitor Center filled with activities and tips for viewing and talking about the art on display at the museum.

In addition to football memorabilia, Gridiron Glory also has interactive elements. Photo courtesy of the Museum of Science

Gridiron Glory
Museum of Science - Boston
Opens October 8, 2017
Hut, hut, hike! With the fall season upon us, what would be more appropriate than a football exhibition? Produced by the Pro Football Hall of Fame​, this exhibit promises to be the most extensive ever created on the sport, with more than 200 artifacts, award-winning photographs, and one-of-a-kind documents from the Hall of Fame's collection. 

This female orb-weaving spider from Brazil builds typical but very large orb webs that have been known, on occasion, to catch bats. Photo by Gustavo Hormiga/courtesy of Harvard Museum of Natural History

Orb Weavers
Museum of Natural History - Cambridge
Opens October 21, 2017
Fans of Charlotte or just spooky critters will be entranced by this multimedia exploration of the science and artistry of spiderwebs. There will be specimens from the museum collection, amazing photographs, and some video to help kids see webs and the spiders who spin them up close.

Tony DiTerlizzi's “A Golden Afternoon” cover of Dragon magazine, 1997; image courtesy of the artist and the Norman Rockwell Museum

Never Abandon Imagination: The Fantastical Art of Tony DiTerlizzi
Norman Rockwell Museum - Stockbridge
November 11, 2017 to May 28, 2018
Calling all fantasy lovers! The work of bestselling author and illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi is on display including his well-known depictions of fairies, trolls, sprites, and goblins. In addition to audio tours just for kids and a Creativity Center, the Norman Rockwell Museum offers a scavenger/treasure hunt with prizes awarded upon completion. 

(un)expected families
Museum of Fine Arts - Boston
December 9, 2017 through June 17, 2018
What better way to spend family time then checking out photographs of other families? Kids can explore the 75 different pieces that show a wide range of family structures, comparing and contrasting as they see fit. Maybe they will even leave with a renewed appreciation for their very own families too!

Top photo: Tony DiTerlizzi, "Never Abandon Imagination," 2017; Image courtesy of the artist and the Norman Rockwell Museum

Peabody Essex Museum
East India Square, 161 Essex Street
01970 Salem , MA 42° 31' 18.228" N, 70° 53' 32.064" W
Institute of Contemporary Art
25 Harbor Shore Drive
02210 Boston , MA 42° 21' 10.4256" N, 71° 2' 35.2932" W
Museum of Science
1 Science Park
02114 Boston , MA 42° 22' 4.5768" N, 71° 4' 15.996" W
Norman Rockwell Museum
9 Glendale Rd / Rte 183
01262 Stockbridge , MA 42° 17' 16.2564" N, 73° 20' 9.4632" W
Museum of Fine Arts
465 Huntington Ave
02115 Boston , MA 42° 20' 22.0596" N, 71° 5' 39.1632" W
Harvard Museum of Natural History
26 Oxford Street
02138 Cambridge , ME 42° 22' 44.1444" N, 71° 6' 54.9468" W