The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum by Geoffrey Chasin Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is noted for its fine collection of art ranging from ancient Roman sculptures to 19th-century masterpieces, as well as for serving as a performance and research venue for contemporary artists and scholars. The museum’s permanent collection includes more than 2,500 pieces by such renowned artists as Titian, Michelangelo, Degas, Manet, and Rembrandt, all housed in the Gardners’ gorgeous 15th-century-Venetian-style palace. The museum is unique in that it remains as Isabella Stewart Gardner created it: the building, collection, and placement of gardens and works of art are, according to her wishes, exactly as they were when she opened the museum in January of 1903. Gardner added to her collection quickly; she and her husband began decorating their home with objects from around the world in the 1880s, and she became a serious collector in the 1890s. In 1896, the couple decided to build a home that they deemed worthy of their collection. Since its inception, the museum has provided a place for working artists. American painter John Singer Sargent had a studio there, and classical singers and dancers were invited to use the building as a performance space. Today the museum remains true to its original vision of displaying fine art and culture to the public. It is open every day but Tuesday, with extended hours on Thursday. About the author: A strong advocate of the arts in the Boston area, Geoffrey Chasin owns and manages New England Retail Express, a home delivery service that handles deliveries for some of the nation’s largest retail chains.