- I have long been an adorer of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum here in Boston and always make it a point to visit at least twice a year or more if the time allows. Since I was very little, I remember being drawn to the enchantment of the three-tiered mansion that once belonged to the Gardner Family showcasing an impressive collection of art, music and plantings. Most notable proprietor, Isabella or otherwise known as “Mrs. Jack” born on April 14, 1840 (a fellow Aries), was a feverish collector of paintings, artifacts and other beautiful treasures, which she displayed in a revolutionary fashion. Instead of exhibiting her cherished items on walls typical to museum fashion (such as the MFA), Isabella decided to present her artwork in a more intimately elaborate array. If you’ve ever been to the Gardner, you’ll be familiar with this fact as you pass by Renoirs and Segal’s hung in tiny rooms alongside an assemblage of antique spoons and shoes. The appeal to wander through Isabella’s house marveling at her priceless compilation is more than a cultural experience, it’s a personal one.
For many Bostonians who have journeyed through the museum, one of the utmost attractions is the stunning garden that blooms year round in the center of the architecture. Depending on when you go, there is a courtyard filled with seasonal plants and flowers that patrons can photograph (without flashes) or sketch in the interlude of enjoying the other pieces of fine art. As a person who is crazy about the idea of strolling through a Victorian stone building growing blossoms through the center, I couldn’t recommend this day trip more to others with similar interests. But perhaps gardening isn’t your thing and ask, “Why should I bother to go?” That’s a very good question… The Isabella Stewart Gardner museum is such an important example of Bostonian art history that I can name several reasons why you should tour the vicinity whether you’re into botany or not.
- “Blossoming” Artists: Student artists will not only be able to take a lesson or two from the impressive renaissance portraits on display but can actual get a hands on experience drawing and sketching the garden itself. The museum provides pencils and paper for anyone who would like to take the time to capture the beauty in their own expressive way.
- Mystery Lovers: If you like a good who-done-it then you’ll love trying to solve the mystery of the famous March 18, 1990 heist where 500 million dollars worth of artwork was stolen. The crime has never been solved but the frames are still left empty on the walls.
- Philanthropists: Isabella was more than just an art collector; she was one of the largest philanthropists in her time within Boston. She relayed millions of dollars to special causes such as Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Industrial School for Crippled and Deformed Children, Animal Rescue League and Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
- If You’re Cheap: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has great deals on tickets such as free entry on your birthday, $2 dollars off admission prices if you wear Red Sox gear, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders receive free entry on the first full weekend of each month and if you’re name is “Isabella” than you have free admission for LIFE