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“Seriously overrated.” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
25 Evans Way, Boston, MA 02115
+1 617-566-1401
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Ranked #25 of 426 things to do in Boston
Certificate of Excellence
Activities: Group tours/walking tour
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: A Venetian palace in the middle of Boston, Gardner's home is now a museum displaying her impressive, eclectic collection of European, American and Asian art, including sculpture, paintings, furniture, ceramics and textiles. Visitors can stroll or rest in a spectacular skylit courtyard filled with plants and flowers.
Winchester, Massachusetts, United States
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Seriously overrated.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2012

I have to say I was extremely disappointed by the Gardner. The lighting was extremely poor, making it almost impossible to SEE the many works of art gathered there. I understand the compromise between preserving the works and showing the works, but what's the use in having a museum that keeps the art in the dark? It was a thorough disappointment.

Visited November 2012
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1,088 reviews from our community

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Vancouver, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Somber Afternooon”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 22, 2012

There were four of us together and it wasn't a long visit - about 2 1/2 hours. It was the second visit for some and first for others. Although it was a relatively bright day the museum was so dull and somber that it very much affected all of our impressions. The museum is certainly a tribute to Gardner but it strikes me as a place that would be best for aspiring artists (of any pursuit) as it is, in effect, frozen in time by her restriction on changes. The collection appears haphazard, without continuity or theme but the recorded guide messages do help to provide some limited context. For something that it intended as a memorial to Gardner there doesn't seem to be enough of anything to give or even leave an impression of why a particular object is included and only very limited relationship to her life and time or the origin of the piece. We likely wouldn't return unless there was a better and more complete attempt to provide background and context to the exhibits.

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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New Haven, Connecticut
Top Contributor
253 reviews 253 reviews
24 attraction reviews
160 helpful votes 160 helpful votes
“Return Trip to Check Out Renzo Piano's Addition”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012

This is our second trip to the Gardner Museum. We were curious about the Renzo Piano addition. What this dramatic piece of architecture did for the museum was give it a larger reception area, provide a more suitable place for lectures, events, and provide an independent space for a collection of greenhouse plants. My only criticism as an architect is the addition's stark, modernist design seems to conflict with, rather than complement, the existing museum, whose classic architecture emulated palaces built in Venice. The renaissance paintings are worth the time you visit here. And we did take the architectural tour- it's included with the price of admission, and I learned a lot from it. Worth your 20 minutes.

Visited November 2012
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Merrimack, NH
Top Contributor
260 reviews 260 reviews
72 attraction reviews
123 helpful votes 123 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2012

We received a museum pass from our local library to visit. Parking is difficult; lots $28.00 for average museum visit. Very interesting-- get audio tour or read all the room cards; it will enrich the experience of visiting.

Cafe pannini sandwich was very nice.

Visited November 2012
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Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
16 attraction reviews
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“My absolute FAVE museum”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2012

When you walk into this museum you immediately have the sense yo'ure in a very amazing home! This museum was actually someone's house, and when Isabella Stewart Gardner LEFT her house to be used as a museum, she stipulated that everything had to be left as is. From the gorgeous indoor garden with sunlight streaming down, to the meeting rooms upstairs where she held parties and which display some of the world's greatest classic art, this is a museum that's worth checking out. It's just behind the Museum of Fine Art, and if you're visiting that one, there's no reason NOT to add the Gardner Museum to your day. You won't regret it!

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