Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Day at the Museum

Last weekend, my mom and her cousin came to visit with the specific purpose to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston's Fenway neighborhood. Mom had gone once before and was amazed by it. Whenever she would talk about it, I got the urge to go and see just what made it so great.

On a chilly Friday morning, we got a cab on Charles Street and went to the museum. We were a bit early (it opens at 11) so we stood outside in the heavy winds with quite a few others, waiting for the museum to open. Once we were let in, we went to buy our tickets and I was happy to find out that, as an Emerson student, I get free admission! So I will definitely be returning many times while at Emerson.

The entire museum is beautiful and there is so much to see, plus there is a lot of history behind the museum and Isabella Stewart Gardner's life that led up to the creation of this beautiful place. In short, Isabella was a woman from New York City and was educated in Paris. She married John "Jack" L. Gardner, the brother of a classmate and Boston's most eligible bachelor. After losing their only child at 18 months old, they threw themselves into their passions, which included art and travel. They traveled widely and Venice became Isabella's favorite place. After Jack's death, Isabella decided to have a museum built in the Fenway neighborhood (which was considered country in when it was build in 1903).

The museum is clearly inspired by Venetian art and architecture. There is a courtyard in the center which is filled with flowers, fountains, and statues and is covered by glass panels so there is natural light constantly. Isabella meticulously chose where each piece of artwork was placed in every room and, per her request, nothing is allowed to be changed, altered, or moved. Where Isabella chose to place everything is where it will always remain.

There are so many rooms to see and paintings and sculptures to admire. There's a small sanctuary on the first floor that is beautiful and every room is enviable. The staircase is spectacular.

There is a lot to see and in the addition that was build behind the museum features space for exhibits and an acoustically amazing music room where performances are often held. I definitely recommend making your way to Fenway if you visit or live in Boston. This museum, because it was a residence at one time, is very different from any other museum I've visited and it one I hope to return to often, because there is so very much to see! Not to mention, when you pull up to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, you will feel like you are seeing a small slice of Venice in the middle of Boston.

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