Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Touring Boston - What to Know About Visiting the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum with Children

Before moving to Boston I participated in a book challenge at my local library and as part of it I ended up reading "The Gardner Heist" a book about an unsolved major art heist.  The book was interesting but hearing about how the museum responded to the heist was even more facilitating.  

Isabella Steward Gardner Museum with Children

I'll summarize:    

Two people broke into the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum one evening dressed as police officers. They did a smash and grab and stole a total of 13 art works from various rooms in the museum before escaping.  To this day they haven't been found. 

What I found even more interesting is that in Isabella's will she said she wanted her estate to become a museum, but because she had put so much time and effort into each of the rooms of her estate nothing was to be moved or changed.  Ever.  If there were changes made then she would no longer allow her house to be opened as a museum.

What that means is that while walking in the museum you will occasionally see empty picture frames on the wall. Since the curators are not allowed to change anything they have simply left the empty frames in their spots on the wall awaiting the day when the paintings might be recovered.  

I thought it made the walk through the museum so much more fun having read the book first and slowly dawning on the realization that this was the museum I had read about and then looking for the empty frames.  Some are fairly subtle and some are impossible to miss, but it makes for a unique viewing experience for sure.  

Things to Note: 

1) Price 
$15/Adult (Students with ID $5)
18 and under Free

2) Stroller Friendliness 
Stroller are permitted... kind of.  You can bring a single stroller, but double and oversized strollers are not allowed and can be checked in at the coat check.  This is unfortunate, but necessary because some of the entry ways are fairly tight and your not going to be able to fit through them with a huge stroller. 

3) Kid Friendliness
Semi kid friendly.  In the sense that children of all ages are welcome and encouraged to come and learn more about art, but there are a lot of things that might be tempting for little hands to touch that aren't suppose to be touched.  

Summary & Rating ★★★★☆

Four Stars.  If I was just going as an adult I would have given this a solid five stars because I thought the price was fair (especially since we're students) and the museum was gorgeous. Plus having the additional background from my heist book made the whole thing a bonus as we saw the empty frames and the realization that this was the place I had read so much about dawned on me.  However, keeping little hands away from delicate works of art is not an easy feat and it's something you should certainly keep in mind if you want to go with little ones.   

Have you been here before?  If so I'd love to know more about your experience and any tips or tricks you have in the comments section below. 

Isabella Steward Gardner Museum 
25 Evans Way
Boston, MA 02115

General Information: 617 566 1401
Box Office: 617 278 5156

Open daily from 11 am to 5 pm
Thursday until 9 pm
Closed Tuesday