If you're visiting Boston, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a must see. This incredible personal collection is the most unique museum I've ever seen. There is a gorgeous garden in the middle, Spanish style architecture in one room and what feels like hundreds of paintings grouped together in the next. If the art, history, or one-of-a-kind experience isn't enough to get you through the door... maybe true crime is.
Netflix's "This is a Robbery: The World's Biggest Art Heist" is about the 1990 robbery of this very museum. A brief history: on St. Patricks day in 1990 two men dressed as cops con their way into the museum and make off with what is the largest property theft in the world and a fortune in art. Pieces from Vermeer, Rembrandt and Degas were among the 13 pieces of art taken. Despite the museum offering a $10 million dollar reward for information on the robbery, 31 years later, the art has never been recovered.
There is so much passion infused into the museum, as Isabella designed this museum in every way. From designing the building itself with the intention it being a public museum of her personal collection, to spending over a year curating each piece and where it would live. According the the museum's site, "in her will, [Isabella] wrote that nothing in the way she installed it could be permanently altered. So what you’re experiencing today is Isabella’s vision." This addition to her will added many challenges to the museum but also has preserved the integrity of her vision and the experience as you walk through the galleries. It is because of this rule and the intention behind each piece, that the Gardner Museum is so unlike anything else.
There is so much history and care in each room of the museum, and the curated descriptions from the museum itself offer the best insight. If you get the chance to see the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for yourself, definitely take it!