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The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

- Hannah

Looking for a different Boston Museum?

One that isn’t overrun with tourists? I recently discovered a wonderful, family friendly museum that is relatively unknown! Located right next to the Boston Art Museum, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is one of my favorite Boston Museums. 

This museum was actually at one point the private collection of a highly affluent widow in the 1800’s. Isabella Stewart was bork in New York and married Bostonian John Lowell Gardner, Jr. The couple traveled all over the world, and gained a passion for art. After Isabella’s father died, leaving her his fortune, the two were free to begin a collection. They soon had a marvelous collection and started planning for a gigantic house to keep it in. Sadly, Isabella’s husband did not live to see the completion of the mansion, as he died in 1898.

Isabella continued the project, hiring an architect, but insisting the house be built to her specifications. Fenway Court, as she called the museum, opened in 1903. It was not opened year round until her death in 1924.

The walls and even the ceilings of the museum are lined with amazing works of art from around the world. But what I find the most interesting is that the walls themselves are not plain. Unlike in modern day museums, the walls are painted various colors, covered in tapestries and silk, or covered in polished wood or marble. This gives the museum a very unique look.

At one point, a famous art heist occurred here.

The thieves got safely away, with fifteen expensive paintings! They were never caught and the frames stand empty to this day. 

The museum also features a magnificent courtyard, filled with flowers that mark the various seasons, tall, leaning ferns, and small birds. It adds an atmosphere of serenity to the museum.

Photography and food are not allowed inside of the museum. Admission is $15 per adult, but anyone under 18 is free. Also, anyone with the name Isabella may enter free of charge!

This museum is a great place for all ages, but especially for teens, as they can enjoy the entire museum for free! Be sure to go visit next time you are in Boston, and bring the whole family!

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