The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the greatest museums in the United States draws more than a million visitors a year. It contains more than 450,000 works of art, becoming one of the most comprehensive collections in the Americas. The museum was founded in 1870 and its current location in 1909. In addition to its storage business, the museum is affiliated with an art academy, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and a sister museum, and the Nagoya Boston Museum of Fine Arts in Nagoya, Japan.
The Museum was founded in 1870 and opened in 1876, with much of its collection taken from the Ateneo Art Gallery in Boston. Francis Davis Millet was instrumental in starting the Art School attached to the museum and get Emil Otto Grundmann (1844 - 1890) named its first director.
Originally it was located in an ornate brick Gothic Revival building, designed by John Hubbard Sturgis and Charles Brigham and located in Copley Square in the Back Bay of Boston. The Copley Square building was notable for its large scale use of architectural terra cotta in the United States. The museum moved into its current building on Huntington Avenue, Boston, Avenue of the Arts in 1909.
Current museum building was started in 1907, when trustees of the museum hired architect Guy Lowell to create a master plan for a museum could be built in stages as funding was obtained for each phase. The first section of Lowell's neoclassical design was completed in 1909, and featured a 500-ft (150 m), granite facade, cut along Huntington Avenue, the grand rotunda, and the associated exhibition galleries. Ms. Robert Dawson Evans then funded the total cost of building the next section of the museum's master plan. This wing along the marshes of Back Bay, opened in 1915 and houses art galleries. From 1916 until 1925, John Singer Sargent created the art that lines the rotunda and the colonnade partners. Numerous building additions extended throughout the year including the wing of Decorative Arts in 1968 and the Norman Jean Calderwood Court Garden and Terrace in 1997. This wing houses the museum cafy, restaurant and gift shop and exhibition space.
In the mid 2000s, the museum embarked on a major renovation project. This includes building a new wing for the arts of the Americas, redesigned and expanded educational facilities, and extensive renovation of its galleries of Europe, visitor services and maintenance services.
This expansion increases the size of the MFA by 28% with an additional 133,500 square feet (12,400 m2) of space. The new wing was designed in a restricted way, London's contemporary architecture firm Foster and Partners, headed by Lord (Norman) Foster.
Groundbreaking for the addition took place in 2006. In the process, the current garden patio will become a climate-controlled for years round glass enclosure.
Landscape architects Gustafson Guthrie Nichol redesigned Huntington Avenue and Fenway entrances, gardens, access roads and courtyards. The opening of the new wing is planned for late 2010.