The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is home to one of the best collections of worldly art in all of Boston, and its grounds are beautiful. To help introduce readers who are less familiar with the institution, we are going to breakdown from the art, events, history, and how to visit The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

The History

Isabella Stewart Gardner was a famous American art collector and philanthropist in the late 1800s and early 1900s. One of the wealthiest women in Boston, she and her husband collected vast amounts of art from their travels across Europe and the Middle East. She opened her namesake museum in 1903, built to look like a 15th century Venetian palazzo. Centered on a lush central courtyard, the building is one of Boston’s most stunning attractions. A new addition by Renzo Piano opened in 2012.

The Art

Isabella Stewart Gardner was a passionate collector and curator, who displayed over 7,500 of paintings, sculptures, pieces of furniture, rare books, and other historic objects throughout her home. She spent a year curating every room in the museum, organizing the masterpieces in an eclectic array based on her desired aesthetics. Among the works at the museum there are Titian’s The Rape of Europa, Raphael’s Lamentation Over The Dead Christ, About, and Henri Matisse’s The Terrace, Saint-Tropez.

The Mystery

In 1990, the museum was robbed in an infamous heist that’s still yet to be solved. At around 1:30am, two men dressed as police officers convinced a security guard to let them enter. They handcuffed him and another security guard in the basement of the museum, and proceeded to steal 13 works of art, including Vermeer’s The Concert—one of only 34 confirmed paintings by the Dutch master in existence—alongside paintings by Rembrandt, Degas, Manet and Flinck. Valued at over $500 million, the missing artwork represents the largest private property theft in American history. Nearly 30 years on, the FBI is still investigating, and the museum has left empty frames as placeholders for the lost art.


In addition to the collection and rotating exhibitions on display at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, there are also a number of events worth enjoying throughout the year. Come here to find regular yoga classes, museum tours, dance performances, film screenings and more.


You can purchase general admission tickets to the museum online or in person for just $15, and you can find tickets to other events on the website’s calendar. The accessible museum has its own cafe, shop, and daily tours and talks to help educate interested guests. You can find out about the museum’s resources and things like hosting a private event on the museum’s website.


The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is located in the Fenway neighborhood, where you can find the home of the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. The area is also hot with restaurants, bars, and outdoor parks at The Fens.

Perks for Isabellas

If your name happens to be Isabella, you’ll enjoy a lifetime of free admission to the fascinating museum.

More Information

Find more online: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum