ISABELLA STEWART GARDNER MUSEUM
EXTENSION + PRESERVATION PROJECT
MUSEUM FACT SHEET
MUSEUM The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is itself a work of art, a highly personal installation
OVERVIEW of Isabella Gardner’s world-class collection intended to fire the imagination of all who visit.
The collection features 5,000 objects spanning 30 centuries and many cultures—including
works by Botticelli, Titian, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Degas, and Sargent, in addition to
sculpture, furniture, tapestries, and manuscripts.
The Gardner Museum was the first of its kind in America to display a major art collection
in an intimate atmosphere, and it is the only Museum of its kind in which the collection,
building, and installation are entirely the creation of one woman. The historic building was
designed by architect Willard T. Sears. The permanent collection is housed in 19 galleries
on three floors surrounding a courtyard. The fourth floor, built as a private apartment for
Isabella Gardner, now houses offices and storage.
A VIBRANT During Isabella Gardner’s lifetime, her Museum bustled with artistic activity: John Singer
LEGACY Sargent painted in the Gothic Room; musician Charles Martin Loeffler composed and
performed in the galleries; Ruth St. Denis, a founder of the modern dance movement,
performed in the cloisters. Today, the Museum continues this legacy through programs that
emphasize the intermingling of the arts and provide new perspectives on the century-old
Museum and its legacy as a center for creativity. Programming at the Museum is presented
in five core areas: historic art and scholarship; contemporary art; music; landscape; and
The majority of the Gardner Museum’s programming will be relocated to the new wing
designed by Renzo Piano, ensuring that the historic building will be preserved.
MISSION “The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum will exercise cultural and civic leadership by
nurturing a new generation of talent in the arts and humanities; by delivering the works of
creators and performers to the public; and by reaching out to involve and serve its
community. The collection will be at the center of this effort as an inspiring encounter with
beauty and art.” – Adopted by Board of Trustees, May 2000
LEADERSHIP Anne Hawley is the Norma Jean Calderwood Director of the Gardner Museum
Barbara Hostetter is the President of the Board of Trustees; John Lowell (“Jack”) Gardner is
the Chairman of the Board of Trustees; William P. Egan is the Chairman of the New
Alan Chong is Lia and William Poorvu Curator of the Collection; Pieranna Cavalchini is
Curator of Contemporary Art; Scott Nickrenz is Curator of Music; Margaret Burchenal is
Esther Stiles Eastman Curator of Education; Patrick Chassé is Curator of Landscape.
INFORMATION 280 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115 | www.gardnermuseum.org
Box Office 617 278 5156; Information 617 566 1401
Located in Boston’s Fenway Cultural District adjacent to Frederick Law Olmsted’s
Emerald Necklace park system.
ISABELLA Born in New York City on April 14, 1840, Isabella Stewart Gardner was one of the
STEWART country’s foremost patrons of the arts and a visionary Museum creator. She possessed an
GARDNER energetic intellectual curiosity and appreciated all forms of creativity. Her wide-ranging
travels drew her close to many cultures and inspired her collecting.
In 1917, Gardner wrote of her Museum: “Years ago I decided that the greatest need in our
country was Art...We were a very young country and had very few opportunities of seeing
beautiful things, works of art... So, I determined to make it my life’s work if I could.”
A friend and patron of contemporary artists and writers including Henry James, James
McNeill Whistler, and John Singer Sargent, Isabella Gardner was also an avid entertainer
and gardener. Her creativity and flair live on in today’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
Isabella Gardner established the Museum with an endowment to secure its future, and
stipulated in her will that the Museum operate “for the education and enjoyment of the
public forever.” This is her mandate and the Museum’s mission.
OPENING NIGHT Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum first opened her Museum on New Years’ Day, January 1,
| JANUARY 1ST, 1903 1903, with an evening celebration of art, music, and flowers. Following an opening concert
of Bach, Mozart, Chausson, and Schumann performed by fifty members of the Boston
Symphony Orchestra, mirrored doors were rolled back to reveal the spectacular enclosed
courtyard, brimming with flowers and dramatically lit with Japanese lanterns hung from the
balconies. Surrounding the courtyard, galleries displayed art in an intimate setting – while
the hostess treated her guests to champagne and donuts. The new Museum was heralded by
guests and critics alike, setting the stage for a century-plus of art and inspiration. The
Museum’s first public day was February 23, 1903; admission was $1.
CAPACITY The historic Gardner Museum building is approximately 60,000 square feet in total. In
+ SQUARE Isabella Gardner’s day, 1,000 to 2,000 people visited the Museum in its first years; today
FOOTAGE that figure is closer to 200,000 each year. The new wing will help alleviate the pressures of
increased public access while maintaining a maximum capacity of 500 people at any one
time in the historic building. The new facility will provide programs with more appropriate
and accessible spaces for the public.
Of the total 60,000 square feet comprising the historic Museum building:
Historic Galleries: 38,000 sq feet
Garden Courtyard: 3,000 sq feet (dimensions: 68' 6" x 44')
Existing Special Exhibition Gallery: 500 sq feet
Existing Gardner Café: 660 sq feet
Existing Museum Shop:
THEFT On March 18, 1990, 13 priceless and irreplaceable works of art were stolen from the
Gardner Museum, including works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas, and Manet. The
Museum is offering a reward of $5 million for information leading to the recovery of the
stolen objects. March 2010 marks the twentieth anniversary of the theft.
ENDOWMENT Isabella Gardner left an endowment for the running of the Isabella Stewart Gardner
Museum at the time of her death in 1924. The original value of this endowment was $1.6
million. The Museum’s current endowment (as of 11/30/09) is valued at $94.7 million.
FUN FACTS The Museum archives possessed 30 photographs of the original building under
construction, including images of Isabella Gardner herself directing progress.
Isabella Gardner found a four-leaf clover on the construction site of her Museum.
MEDIA CONTACTS | Matt Montgomery Director of Marketing and Communications 617 278 5184 w email@example.com
| Katherine Armstrong Public Relations Director 617 278 5107 w 617 956 2565 c firstname.lastname@example.org