Tag Archives: museums

Oh the Places You’ll Go (With Your Tufts ID Card)

Written by Ruaidhri Crofton, History & Museum Studies M.A. 2020

As a graduate student, being able to save money is important. But at the same time, being able to take some time away from your studies to visit a museum, go to a movie, or grab something to eat is a great way to change up your routine and ensure that you’re not burning yourself out from working nonstop. Finding a balance between saving and going out to do something fun isn’t always easy, but thanks your handy dandy Tufts student ID card you have access to a number of things that will allow you to decompress, explore, and learn something new without spending too much, if anything!

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Perhaps one of the most exciting perks of being a Tufts student is free (yes, that’s right, FREE) admission to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA)! Located right next to the Tufts Fenway Campus, the museum is easily accessible both via public transportation and the university shuttle. Though visitors typically pay as much as $25 to enter this renowned cultural institution, you have the opportunity to peruse its seemingly endless galleries and corridors as frequently as you like for no charge. Explore vast collections of art from around the world ranging from Roman pottery and Egyptian mummies to Colonial Era American paintings and modern art from around the globe. Home to nearly 500,000 pieces of art, I have never found myself able to see everything there is to see, even after multiple visits. However, even if you were to manage this impressive feat, the museum’s array of temporary exhibits and public programming will hopefully keep drawing you back over and over again!

The Royall House & Slave Quarters 

A mere 10 minutes walking distance from the Tufts Somerville/Medford campus, The Royall House and Slave Quarters preserves the 18th century home of the Royall family, the largest slaveholding family in Massachusetts, along with the only remaining slave quarters in the northern United States. Visitors are welcome to visit the site from mid-March to mid-November where they can take a guided tour of both the mansion and slave quarters to learn more about the property’s role in the history of race, class, and slavery in North America. Though the stories preserved and interpreted by the site can be troubling to hear, a visit to the museum provides an impactful means of learning about this country’s past and its significance today. Admission is typically only $10, but Tufts students are able to visit for free.

Theaters

Taking the time to see a cool new movie on the big screen or even attending a play or concert can make for a fun night out. However, the cost of seeing a film in theaters alone can often cost nearly $20. That being said, several movie theaters in the Boston area offer discounted showings and student rates. Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline is a popular independent theater known for showing a wide variety of mainstream and independent movies, as well as being affordable for students. Even the AMC chain theaters in Boston and Somerville offer a fairly substantial discount on tickets (though they can vary from location to location). Although I haven’t seen a formal student discount at the Somerville Theater in Davis Square, it’s $11 ticket prices certainly beat out other theaters in the area and it’s only a short walk away from campus!              

Groceries, Shops, and Restaurants

As a graduate student, finding time to cook and eat can definitely be challenging. Having the luxury of going out to eat isn’t always possible, especially on a tight budget. However, many restaurants, shops, and even grocery stores in Davis Square and elsewhere near the Tufts Somerville/Medford campus offer discounts to Tufts students to make eating out a bit more affordable. Perhaps the most well well known among Tufts students is Yoshi’s Japanese and Korean Cuisine, which offers a 10% discount to students who show their ID. B-Fresh Market, a grocery store in Davis Square, similarly offers a 5% discount on groceries at checkout to students (just make sure you use a regular checkout and not a self-checkout to get this discount). Multiple other businesses also offer similar discounts so make sure you keep your ID card with you and your eyes out for signs promoting these deals! 

So Much More!

Though these are just a few examples of some of the deals you can get with a Tufts student ID, there are plenty of other museums, restaurants, events, and businesses in the Boston area that offer discounts and promotions for students. Make sure you always keep your ID handy to take advantage of these offers, and make your experience as a graduate student just a bit more affordable and fun! 

The Top 5 Ways to “Treat Yo’ Self” (on a grad student budget)

Written by Gina Mantica, Biology Ph.D. Candidate

  1. Ice cream

Massachusetts is filled to the brim with homemade ice cream shops, and nothing says “treat yo ’self” like a small Death by Chocolate (chocolate ice cream with a chocolate swirl, chocolate chips, and fudgy brownies) in a colorful house-made waffle cone. Head on over to C.B. Scoops if you’re near the 200 Boston Avenue buildings for this decadent treat.

If you’re closer to the hill, don’t fret. Walk down or take the bus to Davis Square and hit up JP Licks, where you’ll find fun seasonal flavors, as well as some great dairy-free options!

If you’re feeling adventurous, drive or take a cab on over to Tipping Cow ice cream on Medford Street. A hip, nut-free ice cream stop boasting unique rotating flavors like Vanilla Buttermilk and Earl Grey, you will never be bored or disappointed by their selection.

  1. Books

For all you bookworms out there, I dare you to treat yourself to a book that is entirely unrelated to your thesis, dissertation, and class work. Next on my own non-academic reading list is Paris in the Present Tenseby Mark Helprin. If you’re into flowery prose and details that will make you forget where you are, I highly recommend his works.

If flowery and detailed is not really your cup of tea, make a day out of finding your new book with your own piping hot cup of tea. Head downtown to Trident Café and Booksellers on Newbury Street. There, you can peruse the aisles while enjoying a drink or a light snack. The café has a wide selection of coffees, teas, and pastries (they also serve an amazing brunch).

  1. Museum of Fine Arts

Did you know that your Tufts ID gets you free admission to the MFA? With one of the largest collections of Claude Monet’s work outside of France, you could spend an entire day (or 2!) at this museum. They have incredible temporary exhibitions, so even if you think you’ve seen everything the museum has to offer, there is always something new. This past fall semester, for example, they had a Winnie the Pooh exhibit filled with original drawings of Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and friends!

  1. Ice Skating

In Boston, when people think “ice skating” they tend to immediately think of the Frog Pond on the Boston Common. While the Frog Pong is beautiful, it is also a little pricey on a graduate student budget. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, head on over to the LoConte Memorial Rink in Medford. During public skating hours, admission is free and skates are only $5 to rent! Due to its location, the crowd at the LoConte Rink is mostly middle and high school students, but take a date or a group of friends and you’ll have a blast!

  1. Sports games

Did you know that the Celtics, Bruins, and Red Sox all offer affordable options for students to see games? Register online to get updates on Red Sox student ticket availability. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a Red Sox game that way, but last time I went the tickets were less than $20 a piece! Similarly, register online for the Buzzer Beater Pass offered by the Celtics to get notified if last minute tickets are available for purchase on game days. Also, check out the Student Nights offered each year by the Bruins for half-price ticket options.

In Search of Boston’s Most Underrated Museums

Written by Ruaidhri Crofton, History & Museum Studies M.A. 2020

It is no secret that Boston is home to a wide array of museums and historic sites that play an important role in both entertaining and educating hundreds of visitors annually, while simultaneously preserving some of the most important aspects of local history and culture. Some, like the Museum of Fine Arts, the Old North Church, and the USS Constitution, are so iconic that you can hardly say you have been to Boston without visiting them. However, the greater Boston area is also home to a number of “underrated” museums that play just as important a role in the communities they serve, despite their relative lack of widespread fame.

As someone who is (perhaps overly) enthusiastic about museums and the stories they tell, I am always looking for new places to visit and have thus had the opportunity to explore many of these often-overlooked sites. Not only have they proven to be incredibly informative and engaging, I have often found many of them to be even more impressive than some of their larger counterparts. Though difficult, I have picked out a few of my favorites to highlight just how varied and impressive some of these “underrated” museums can be. I hope that they will help to provide some inspiration for your own future adventures around Tufts and prove to be just as enjoyable for you as they were for me!

Harvard Semitic Museum

Situated just across the street from the popular Harvard Museum of Natural History and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, the Harvard Semitic Museum’s collection contains more than 40,000 objects from the Near East, including Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Tunisia. Visitors can view Egyptian canopic jars, mummies, Mesopotamian art, reconstructions of ancient Israeli homes, and much more for free!

The Mary Baker Eddy Library

Located within the Christian Science Center in the Back Bay, the Mary Baker Eddy Library is a research library, museum, and repository for the papers of the founder of The Church of Christ, Scientist. However, perhaps the most iconic exhibit housed within the museum is the stunning “Mapparium,” a three-story stained glass globe. Visitors can walk through the center of the globe on a 30-foot long bridge and view the world as it appeared in 1935.

Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation

Want to learn more about the history of medicine in the United States? What better place to do it than at the Russell Museum located on the Boston campus of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)! In addition to viewing historic surgical instruments and engaging with interactive displays, make sure to check out the Ether Dome located within the hospital itself where the first successful public surgery using ether as an anesthetic was performed.

Museum of African American History & The Black Heritage Trail

Nearly everyone who visits Boston spends at least part of their visit walking the Freedom Trail. But did you know there’s a second historic walking trail downtown focusing on a different aspect of the “fight for freedom” in the United States? Boston’s Black Heritage Trail takes visitors through the streets of Beacon Hill to view the homes of prominent abolitionists, stops on the Underground Railway, and more. At the end of the trail is the African Meeting House, the oldest black church in the United States, and the Museum of African American History featuring rotating exhibits on the African American community in Boston.

Armenian Museum of America

Home to the third-largest Armenian population in the United States, the Boston suburb of Watertown is also home to perhaps one of my favorite museums, the Armenian Museum of America. Featuring exhibits on the rich history and culture of Armenia and Armenian-Americans, visitors can learn about everything from ancient metalwork and textiles to the 1916 Armenian genocide. The museum is also actively engaged in programming for the community by featuring regular concerts, art programs, and lectures.

USS Cassin Young

Berthed in the shadow of the famous USS Constitution, the oldest actively commissioned naval vessel in the world, the USS Cassin Young (DD-793) is a unique museum tasked with preserving a different era of United States naval history. Named for Captain Cassin Young, a Medal of Honor recipient for his actions during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the USS Cassin Young was commissioned in 1943 and served in both World War II and the Korean War before it was decommissioned in 1960. Today, the museum is run by the National Park Service and allows visitors to catch a glimpse of life onboard a more modern naval vessel.

 Vilna Shul

Originally a synagogue built in 1919 by Jewish immigrants from Lithuania who settled on Beacon Hill, the Vilna Shul has been an important center for Jewish culture for nearly a century. Today, it is the oldest Jewish building in Boston and continues to serve in its role as a cultural and community center, in addition to being a museum featuring exhibits focused on the history of the Jewish community in Boston and a historic building itself.