On Monday, January 15, 2024 we celebrate and recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day. MLK Day is a federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. Every year, it’s observed on the third Monday of January. King was born in 1929 and his actual birthday is on January 15th. This year the holiday falls on his actual birthday.

The history of MLK Day

Back in November of 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the King Holiday bill into law. It would designate the third Monday in January a federal holiday to recognize civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That legislation came 15 years after it was first introduced in 1968, just four days after King’s assassination. Afterwards, it took another 17 years for the day to be recognized in all 50 states. Today, MLK Day is the only federal holiday that’s designated as a national day of service. The intention is to encourage all Americans to volunteer, and be of service to their communities.

Ways to Celebrate

Many people spend the holiday in service to others. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, “Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” He also said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”

Many people do things helping others on their own. While, some work together with their communities. Many people will do community cleanups, some will help with serving meals, and others will volunteer at their public library. The possibilities to serve are endless. And it is so true that there is nothing that will make you feel better than helping others. My mother was right! Lol

What will you do this MLK Day? There are several things to do in the Boston area to recognize and honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Here are some ideas to help you out.

  • Free admission to the Museum of Fine Arts

    MLK Day

    Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy with art making, performances, and talks with the members of our community.

    The Museum of Fine Arts not only offers free admission on MLK Day, they also have special activities planned for people of all ages. They’ll have crown making, a job fair, guided tours and more.

  • Celebrate~ With George Russell Jr.

    George Russell Jr. and Friends

    Join us for a performance with George Russell Jr. and Friends in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Listeners of all ages will learn how music inspired and motivated Americans during the civil rights movement and enjoy some of Martin Luther King Jr.'s favorite songs.

    Nothing like a little music to truly make a celebration. George Russell Jr. and Company will honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. at the JFK Library. You will learn how music played an important role in both the Underground Railroad and the Civil Rights Movement.

  • Free admission at Zoo New England


    If you’re looking for something free to do with the kids, the Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo will offer free admission on Monday, January 15th in honor of MLK Day. There are lots of events planned including chats with some of the animal keepers.


  • Free admission at the Institute of Contemporary Art

    Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Free Admission

    The ICA is offering FREE admission for all on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 15. Free advanced tickets are required and will be available to reserve beginning on Sunday, January 14 at 10 AM.

    The ICA is offering FREE admission for all on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 15. While tickets are free, you have to reserve them. They will be available to reserve beginning on Sunday, January 14 at 10 AM. Special events include: art-making, a special short film screening, and three acclaimed exhibitions.

  • Free admission at the Gardner Museum

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

    Honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with storytelling, drum-circles, impactful conversation and music! Artists and thought leaders will share reflections on themes of social justice, equity, art, and empowerment, and invite participation in activities throughout the day.

    The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum will also have free admission on MLK Day. They will also be providing many special events including interactive family experiences, Why We Still Dream conversations, and more.

  • Day of Service at the Discovery Museum

    Small Acts, Big Impacts: A Day of Service | Discovery Museum

    Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a designated National Day of Service, to encourage all Americans to volunteer within their communities and honor the life and legacy of the Civil Rights leader. Join the Discovery Museum as we engage in small acts of service to benefit our neighbors.

    Head over to the Discovery Museum from Saturday, January 13th through the 15th for Small Acts, Big Impacts: A Day of Service. The event is from 0am – 2pm each day and is free with admission to the museum. From their website:

    Make a birthday card and help collect “Birthday-in-a-Box” supplies to support two local charities whose missions are to create special birthday moments for children who are experiencing homelessness or who are in the hospital in their birthdays. Most needed items are:

    • Boxed cake mix and jar frosting, chocolate, vanilla, or Funfetti (please ensure expiration dates are at least 8 months from date of donation)
    • New and unopened, colored/themed paper plates, paper napkins, paper cups (9 oz.), and paper straws; Happy Birthday banners; Birthday candles (18-24 count)
    • Disposable cake pan (8”x8” or 9”x13”)

    All birthday supply donations will benefit Birthday Wishes and The Confetti Foundation.

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