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“So Glad I Got to Come Again”

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
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Go Boston Card
Ranked #12 of 392 things to do in Boston
Certificate of Excellence
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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.
La Porte. IN
Level Contributor
63 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“So Glad I Got to Come Again”
Reviewed October 11, 2013

I made my first visit to this museum two years ago, when they were adding the new addition and also working in the Tapestry Room. I made my second visit in Sept. 2013, and everything is back in order. The new addition is striking with a lot of glass and natural light. The Living Room is the best part. Comfy couches and chairs and plenty of art books to look at. We were here while waiting to eat lunch at Cafe G. The museum itself has not changed, per Mrs. Gardner's orders. However a sarcophagus had to be moved 90 degrees to allow for a new entrance into the museum. They had to get a court order to move it. There is a lovely outside area near the Spanish cloister. Even the restrooms were renovated. I wonder if Mrs. Gardner made an allowance for that!? This is a quiet, restful museum, so don't be in a hurry. You can't see it all in one day. One negative--the younger staff members seemed unapproachable, they did not smile or say anything. The older staff were friendly and seemed happy to talk.

Visited September 2013
Thank SandyT101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,197 reviews from our community

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Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
162 reviews
56 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Intimate, beautiful viewing”
Reviewed October 11, 2013

We were recommended visiting this by a Bostonian, & we're glad we did....

The place is exquisitely laid out around a beautiful atrium space. The courtyard is full of tree ferns, the sound of running water, & greenery. The 'house' itself is a work of art.

The museum is full of beautiful artwork. Yes - it's cheek-by-jowl - & no, it doesn't always have a 'tag' to it. But it's a unique viewing experience.

The staff are charming... & turn out to be well travelled too!

Visited October 2013
Thank Penny H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Troy, New York
Level Contributor
64 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Eclectic museum, good example of 20th C. conspicuous consumption”
Reviewed October 10, 2013

Have been to Boston many times, but this was our first visit to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. I found it an interesting example of what many of the late 19th C - early 20th C. 'very rich' did with their money. In fact, I now want to read about the woman who created this collection. Nowadays, she would be considered a hoarder. She just had a fancier storage area for her stuff. Anyway...if you haven't seen many collections of European medieval church fonts, pews, and other ill-assorted artwork, here's a good place to start. If your time is limited, I would go to the Boston Museum of Fine Art instead.

Visited October 2013
Thank Cherrie E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
United States
Level Contributor
358 reviews
71 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 203 helpful votes
“Fantastic museum.”
Reviewed October 9, 2013

This is a very eclectic, but beautiful museum. The central atrium is really stunning... a very peaceful place amidst the craziness of Boston.

Free entry for those named Isabella, and possibly on your birthday as well.

Visited July 2013
Thank manilapacman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
33 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Great Art, Time to get some decent lighting”
Reviewed October 8, 2013

I am giving this review 5 stars because the art is amazing. The collection is filled with names like Degas, Rembrandt, Raphael, Boticelli, Titian and the only Michelangelo in the Western Hemisphere. Also some amazing religious and early italian art, beautiful dutch art room and some beautiful sculptures and objects and much more. This is a unique, priceless collection that is indeed globally relevant. The World's most famous art heist happened here and I look forward to the day when the 13 stolen items are returned, including the famous Rembrandt's Christ on The Sea of Galillee and Vermeer's The Concert. In the meantime empty frames hang on the walls. The building and the courtyard are unique and beautiful. That said, I do agree with previous reviewers they need to improve the lighting and the labeling. It is not befitting of these treasures and even though I was amazed and had a great experience, better lighting and labeling would have improved the experience. I understand the obligation to the owner's estate but I say What The Heck! Some minor finishing touches could give this world class collection the presentation it deserves. Plan to spend about 3 hours if you want to get the full effect or blast through in about 90 minutes. This museum is wonderful but it is uniquely Boston.

Visited October 2013
Thank Nepatz11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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