Words & Photography / Zi Nguyen
If I have to be absolutely honest with you, I’m not the biggest museum fan. I certainly don’t know the best place to see the most beautiful and important artworks in the city. I go to museums sometimes when they offer free admission, float through the paintings on the wall and try to comprehend their meanings. I’ll think about the strokes of the brush, the color scheme, the way that lady stands, and how they all matter. Most of the time, I just gaze out and watch the stream of other visitors instead.
I do have a favorite museum though – a few to be exact – and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston is one of those. It’s the kind of place that everywhere you touch is full of magic, beauty, and history. As you step into the museum, the world changes and time goes backward to thousands of years ago. Built in 1896 and modeled on the Renaissance palaces of Venice, the museum itself is a masterpiece. Each room has a story, waiting to invite you in.
Isabella Stewart came from a wealthy family in New York City and went to school for art, music, and dance, as well as French and Italian. Through all the struggles in life, losing her only son and later finding out that she could no longer have children, Stewart chose to travel around the world with her husband. Many of the art pieces reside at the museum today were collected from their trips. Here, everything has a story and each space is used with intention. There is no empty wall. Everything stands where they are for a reason.
If you are ever in Boston, don’t miss it. This will be one of the museums that you’ll remember. And you’ll come back one day, searching for all the stories you have yet to finish.