Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum houses the vast collections of its namesake, one of the most renowned female art collectors and philanthropists of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Immortalizing Isabella's Private Collection

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Isabella Stewart Gardner was born in New York in 1840 and moved to Boston with her husband, Jack Gardner, following their marriage in 1860. Deeply involved in Boston and Cambridge's intellectual circles, she began collecting rare manuscripts and books, paintings, and artifacts. Following the untimely death of her husband in 1898, Gardner began construction of a four-story museum in which she would exhibit her collection and live in the private quarters. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum opened in 1903 complete with concerts, lectures, exhibitions, and more, and has since remained an institution committed to serving the public. In 1990, 13 items were stolen from the Museum in one of the largest art heists in history. Although the stolen paintings and artifacts have never been recovered, today empty frames mark the spaces the artwork once occupied, in accordance with Gardner's request in her will that the collection never be altered.

GRoW Support


Thinking Through Art Program


General Operating Support