BOSTON -- State Rep. Jen Benson (D-Lunenburg) announces that both The Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, MA and The Discovery Museums in Acton will to participate in the Highland Street Foundation's annual Free Fun Fridays program.The Highland Street Foundation provides grants to participating venues to cover the cost of opening their doors for free.

Free Fun Fridays is the annual summer program that opens doors at no cost to visitors to many of the most treasured cultural venues in Massachusetts. This year, 66 museums and cultural venues will participate in the programs, which is an increase from the 60 venues that participated in 2013. Beginning June 27 through Aug. 29, 66 cultural venues will be open free-of-charge every Friday for 10 weeks this summer.

"Free Fun Fridays is an excellent program, as it is available in many different locations, across the Commonwealth," said Representative Jennifer Benson (D-Lunenburg). "The program provides an opportunity to keep children engaged, at no cost, in arts, culture and history, throughout the summer months. I want to thank the Highland Street Foundation for continuing to annually run this program. I encourage everyone to take advantage of Free Fun Fridays and visit the Fruitlands Museum, and The Discovery Museums."

"This year's Free Fun Fridays program is our most far reaching yet, and we're honored to provide families with access to the very best cultural institutions across Massachusetts," said Highland Street Foundation Executive Director, Blake Jordan.


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"We are deeply committed to engaging families on a cultural and intellectual level, and providing ongoing enrichment opportunities for young people, particularly during out-of-school time."

The Fruitlands Museum located in Harvard, MA will open its gates, for this campus-wide free event on Friday, July 11th. This year marks Fruitlands Museum's 100th anniversary presenting programs and exhibitions celebrating the art, heritage, and nature of New England.

Overlooking an expansive vista of the Nashua River Valley, Fruitlands Museum is composed of five museum buildings that feature Native American art, Hudson River School landscape paintings, early American portraits, Shaker furniture and art, and the Fruitlands Farmhouse, which includes exhibits about Bronson Alcott and the experimental Transcendentalist community he established in 1843. The surrounding landscape is Fruitlands fifth collection - a living collection of meadows, fields, and forests with nearly three miles of walking trails, archaeological sites, and wildlife habitats. Free Fun Friday at Fruitlands means fun for youngsters and the young at heart! Join the Fruitlands Museum staff for tours of the museum galleries, trail walks, craft activities, and more. To learn more about the Fruitlands Museum visit http://www.fruitlands.org/.

"Fruitlands Museum is thrilled to be a part of the Highland Street Foundation's annual Free Fun Fridays program," said Melissa Kershaw, Director of Education and Public Programs at Fruitlands. "We can think of no better way to celebrate the museum's 100th anniversary than by opening our gates and sharing the festivities with our neighbors and friends. All of us at Fruitlands are grateful to the Highland Street Foundation, who make it possible to share our collections and unique landscape at no cost to visitors. We look forward to welcoming everyone to our hillside on Friday, July 11."

The Discovery Museums in Acton, MA will open its doors, for free, on Friday, August 1, 2014, from 9:00am to 8:30pm. Founded in 1982, the Museums blend the best of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) learning on a beautiful 4.5 acre campus. The two museums, the Science Discovery Museum and the Children's Discovery Museum, offer hands-on exhibits developed by professional educators to inspire curiosity, exploration, experimentation and imagination. More than 400 hands-on programs are offered each year, as well as special free programs and events, such as the "Especially for Me" series for families with children on the autism spectrum or with hearing loss. To learn more about The Discovery Museums, please visit www.discoverymuseums.org.

"We are very happy to participate in Free Fun Friday again this year, so that more local families will enjoy a visit the Museums," said Neil Gordon, CEO of The Discovery Museums. "Informal learning experiences are so important for children, and support from organizations such as Highland Street Foundation helps us provide fun, hands-on and engaging opportunities to families that otherwise might not be able to visit."

The following institutions are participating in Free Fun Fridays 2014:

Friday, June 27, 2014

Franklin Park Zoo (Dorchester)

Cape Cod Maritime Museum (Hyannis Port)

Worcester Art Museum (Worcester)

Tanglewood (Lenox)

The Sports Museum (Boston)

Mass MoCA (North Adams)

MIT Museum (Cambridge)

Friday, July 04, 2014

Heritage Museums & Gardens (Sandwich)

Edward Gorey House (Yarmouth Port)

Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival (Becket)

Amelia Park Children's Museum (Westfield)

Falmouth Museums on the Green (Falmouth)

Friday, July 11, 2014

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum (Boston)

Peabody Essex Museum (Salem)

Worcester Historical Museum (Worcester)

Fruitlands Museum (Harvard)

Cape Cod Children's Museum (Mashpee)

New England Historic Genealogical Society (Boston)

Pilgrim Hall Museum (Plymouth)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston)

Ocean Explorium (New Bedford)

The Eric Carle Museum (Amherst)

Larz Anderson Auto Museum (Brookline)

Springfield Museums (Springfield)

Mass Audubon's Boston Nature Center (Boston)

Sandwich Glass Museum (Sandwich)

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Freedom Trail Foundation (Boston)

Battleship Cove (Fall River)

Children's Museum in Easton (Easton)

Tower Hill Botanic Garden (Boylston)

Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University (Boston)

Cape Cod Museum of Art (Dennis)

Danforth Art (Framingham)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston)

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (Boston)

American Textile History Museum (Lowell)

The Discovery Museums (Acton)

Hancock Shaker Village (Pittsfield)

Concord Museum (Concord)

Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center (Great Barrington)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Boston Harbor Islands National Park (Boston)

Clark Art Institute (Williamstown)

Wenham Museum (Wenham)

USS Constitution Museum (Charlestown)

Children's Museum at Holyoke (Holyoke)

Volleyball Hall of Fame (Holyoke)

Fuller Craft Museum (Brockton)

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (Boston)

Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth)

Garden in the Woods (Framingham)

Museum of Russian Icons (Clinton)

Fitchburg Art Museum (Fitchburg)

Historic Deerfield (Deerfield)

Reagle Museum Theatre (Waltham)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Boston Children's Museum (Boston)

Museum of African American History (Boston)

New Bedford Whaling Museum (New Bedford)

Old Manse, Trustees of Reservations (Concord)

Berkshire Museum (Pittsfield)

Emily Dickinson Museum (Amherst)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Buttonwood Park Zoo (New Bedford)

EcoTarium (Worcester)

Cape Cod Museum of Natural History (Brewster)

Norman Rockwell Museum (Stockbridge)

The Mount: Edith Warton's Home (Lenox)

Griffin Photography Museum (Winchester)

To learn more about the Free Fun Fridays, and the Highland Street Foundation, visit www.highlandstreet.org