Boston’s Newest Jewel

Yesterday, the stunning new addition to Boston’s wonderful Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was officially opened to the general public. Designed by the Italian architectural studio Renzo Piano, the extension houses a new 2,000 square-foot exhibition space, a stylish cafe, a 300-seat auditorium and conservations labs, as well as a new entrance for visitors set back 50-feet from the original mansion. The new addition links to the historic building via a greenhouse corridor. The new building is LEED certified and has a geothermal system, daylight harvesting and water-efficient landscaping for the surrounding gardens.

The historic museum building was constructed in 1903 by the heiress Isabella Stewart Gardner to house her extensive personal art collection, which includes paintings, sculpture, textiles, manuscripts and decorative arts. When Gardner died, her will stipulated that the museum and collection should remain unaltered. In fact, there are empty frames in the main gallery where paintings were removed by thieves during a 1990 heist, which remains unsolved.

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