We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Interesting, but hard to view”

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Go Boston Card
More Info
and up
Boston Explorer Pass
Ranked #12 of 394 things to do in Boston
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
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.
New York, New York
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Interesting, but hard to view”
Reviewed July 1, 2013

The museum and story are really interesting, and I am not sorry I went, but it was very dark and the paintings and rooms were hard to see because of the terrible lighting. There is so much great work there, but the room guides make them hard to identify and after awhile you give up trying.

Visited June 2013
Thank travelbatty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

2,247 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Hebrew first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
New Jersey
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Everything a museum/art liver could want!”
Reviewed July 1, 2013

Do try and go on a sunny day, it makes it a bit brighter. The museum is an eclectic collection of art and objects, with something for everyone. Absolutely fascinating. Try to do a little research before going, but there are information guides in the various rooms. I understand the children's school programs are good and I previewed some of the kids guide handouts they have in various places detailing items/stories/what to look for things on a kid friendly level. It's not a place I would bring younger children as the security is tight and not a lot of open space in this historical building, but older kids will be fascinated by the items, the setting and the history of the place. Stop for coffee in the cafe early, but if you want lunch make sure to have a reservation.

Visited May 2013
Thank CENNewJersey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Worth a diversion”
Reviewed June 30, 2013

One of the best things we did in Boston.

Private museums seem to specialise in 'quirky'. Here the architecture steals the show. The art, amazing as it is, is eclipsed by the beauty of the courtyard. I could have sat there all day and admired it. It's a pity that photography isn't allowed. While I understand the reasons for not allowing photos of art work, it did seem a little mean to apply it to this area as well.

I found the cards in each room quite difficult to follow and would have liked more interpretation of the art.

The restaurant looked lovely, so to the modern living room area opposite. Good gift shop.

The museum is easy to reach by public transport a well worth a detour from the usual suspects in the centre of Boston.

Visited June 2013
Thank AustralasianGal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
laurel, md
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Beautiful, but not super family friendly”
Reviewed June 27, 2013

This is an amazing museum in an unusual setting - the art works exhibited in a mansion that is a work of art in itself. We didn't feel very welcome as a family, however. The staff greeted my group of 5 very experienced museum children (ages 6-12) with instructions as if we were a pack of wild hoodlums - multiple staff people made them repeat the rules (no touching, no running) before we entered. Then within the museum, I felt as if we were being watched and followed - trying to catch us in the act of touching something! My son was reprimanded for having a brochure in his hand because he might drop it on a piece of furniture and then someone might touch the furniture while taking it off. Definitely not a family friendly place - lovely art, lovely setting, not welcoming to children,.

Visited June 2013
Thank julie h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
112 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“Amazing treasure in Boston”
Reviewed June 25, 2013

Facinating story about the life of Isabella Stewart Gardner as reflected in the collection of treasures she chose to put on display in her home/museum. Huge modern addition added to the older building. Wonderful reading room, lovely garden and oddly enough an amazingly beautiful ladie's restroom on the first floor of the original building...attention paid to detail everywhere. Pleasant restaurant for visitors to enjoy as well as a charming gift shop. Really not a place you want to take young children as there are lots of stairs and things not to touch.

Visited June 2013
Thank goodchi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum also viewed


Been to Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing