Even public television's Sister Wendy went a little crazy for Boston's Museum of Fine Arts this year. In an
episode of her art-appreciation series Sister Wendy's American Collection - sure to be repeated a thousand
times on Channel 2 - the smiling nun said the MFA "celebrates like no other [museum] America's own
heritage." After lingering over such patriotic works as John Singleton Copley's portrait of Paul Revere,
she also pointed out that the museum is global in scope, and that its permanent holdings include ancient
Indian pottery, Egyptian mummy masks, and one of the finest collections of Japanese art in the world.
(A major exhibition on "netsuke," Japanese miniature sculpture, is on view through March 10.) In the spring,
the MFA launched the most ambitious fundraising campaign in its history, with $425 million marked for a new
"Art of the Americas" wing, the enclosure of the Fraser Courtyard, and other improvements. All this probably
would have been enough to ensure victory in our readers' poll, but the MFA also runs a superlative film
program (with more foreign-language offerings than any venue in the city), live pop and classical concerts,
and singles-oriented cocktail parties held the first Friday of each month. Sister Wendy, alas, is already
Looking outside Boston, Phoenix readers showed their love for the DeCordova Museum and its 35-acre
sculpture garden. (Maybe they were influenced by Jim Dine's bronze sculpture Two Big Black Hearts.) New
England's largest museum of modern and contemporary American art celebrated its 50th birthday last year,
but it appeals to all ages - as evidenced by two current exhibitions, "Terrors and Wonders: Monsters in
Contemporary Art" and "What's Under the Bed? Monsters in Children's Book Illustration."
Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, (617) 267-9300; DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park,
51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln, (781) 259-8355.