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Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
(4.3/5 based on 1,900+ reviews on the web)
Designed after a Venetian palace, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is home to the private art collection of its namesake. Gardner bought her first painting, Vermeer's "The Concert," at auction in Paris. The painting was stolen in a famous heist in 1990, when 13 renowned works of art were stolen. Not to worry, because almost 3,000 pieces representing periods from ancient Rome to 19th-century America still fill the gallery spaces. These include furniture, textiles, illuminated manuscripts, ceramics, and paintings from almost every era displyed just as Mrs. Gardner left them, with empty spots where the artwork was stolen. Don't miss Anders Zorn's painting of Mrs. Gardner in the galleries. Her collection blossomed quickly after her first Vermeer and she commissioned the building of the current space to give the public access. Mrs. Gardner's great love of Italy, and particularly Venice, inspired her to recreate a Venetian palace to house her favorite pieces, and in 1903 it opened to great fanfare. If your name happens to be Isabella, you get free admission. Put Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum at the forefront of your travel plans using our Boston family vacation planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Quirky and a bit odd. Set in a huge mansion with a beautiful internal courtyard, you wander through Mrs. Gardner's art collection which is set up just as she left it. We spend the afternoon here and h...  more »
  • have been a few times here, went with a friend who was well versed on all thing ESG - the garden was just lovely - she apparently changed the garden with each season and currently just the most fragra...  more »
  • Some of the best "items" in the World. Leave at least three hours for this. You will see everything here. Call for times and special events 
Google
  • Absolutely amazing museum, a time capsule into Isabella Gardeners world. The garden portions are absolutely beautiful, as is the wide variety of art. The addition and cafe and also amazing, with a truly beautiful and unique performance space.
  • Excellent museum where you get to see the house/museum as Isabella Stewart Gardner put it together. Stunning collection. If your name is Isabella you get in free!! Discount for wearing anything Red Sox as she was a huge fan. Not to be missed.
  • The Renzo Piano addition to Mrs. Gardner's home and wonderful art collection is pleasingly harmonious. The Venetian courtyard garden featuring a mosaic Medusa and statue of Persephone are among the many highlights.
  • A beautiful museum. Gardner collected a lot of great pieces, and you also get a great picture of her life and the times. Highly recommend; wish I could have visited the restaurant as well.
  • Very cool place, lots of beautiful pieces. The guide sheets in each room were very helpful.