As fall (yes, fall) quickly approaches and thoughts shift from spending time outdoors to enjoying some exciting indoor activities, it’s time to catch up on what’s happening at the Boston area’s prominent institutions dedicated to art, science and more. The biggest news is perhaps that the Harvard Art Museums (pictured) in Cambridge has finally announced that it is planning to welcome patrons back in-person beginning September 4. To celebrate the event, four new shows—including States of Play: Prints from Rembrandt to Delsarte (opening September 4) and Devour the Land: War and American Landscape Photography since 1970 (opening September 17)—are making their debuts, and Sundays are now admission-free for everyone.
Over in the Fenway, two of Boston’s most well-known art museums are geared up for a blockbuster autumn. At the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Titian: Women Myth & Power takes center stage August 12–January 2, showcasing six epic canvases by the famed Venetian Renaissance painter alongside contemporary work inspired by the artist. This is the show’s final stop, and its only appearance in the U.S. At the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), there’s always a variety of special displays to surprise, delight and educate the public, yet there are a few exhibits that belong in the “much-anticipated” category: Monet and Boston: A Legacy Illuminated, a holdover from the spring that runs through October 17; Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories, a chronicle of quilt-making in this country that runs October 10–January 17; and the re-opening of the renovated Dutch and Flemish galleries—home to masterpieces by Rembrandt, Rubens and Van Dyck—on November 20.
At the Seaport’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), one of its biggest events of the fall is sure to be the 2021 James and Audrey Foster Prize exhibit, a biennial showcase for the finest new works from up-and-coming Boston-based artists that begins on September 1. Just north of Boston, at Salem’s renowned Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), the fall slate includes the history-themed presentation The Salem Witch Trials: Reckoning and Reclaiming beginning September 18, as well as The Great Animal Orchestra: Bernie Krause and United Visual Artists, a sight and sound odyssey featuring the artist’s extensive recordings of animals from around the world that bows on November 20. To the west of Boston in Lincoln, Mass., the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum continues with What We Do in the Shadows—a gathering of works associated with the counterculture and the empowerment of marginalized populations—through the autumn, while it unveils Jeffrey Gibson: Infinite Indigenous Queer Love on October 15.
For many museums, masks and advance reservations are required. See websites for details.