Museum of Fine Arts vs. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston

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#1
Malibu, CA
1,240 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
I only have time to visit one of these museums. Frommer's grants the MFA with 3 stars, the ISGM with 2 stars. Some reviewers absolutely rave about the ISGM while others complain that the lighting is poor and the docents are nasty. (For those who love the ISGM, please forgive me -- I don't write it, I just read it.) Given a choice between these two fabulous museums, which ONE should I not miss? Why?

Thanks for the help!

Shelley
#2
Boston area
17,912 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
Sorry no one has responded. I've never been to the Gardner, so really can't comment. I've enjoyed my trips to the MFA, but it's definitely not the Metropolitan or the Musee D'Orsay/Louvre.
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Carol


#3
Malibu, CA
1,240 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Thanks for your response.

Maybe I shouldn't spend my time in museums at all. Many people on other postings have suggested that I spend my time on the Freedom Trail, Beacon Hill, Back Bay, concentrating on neighborhoods rather than museums. I'm beginning to think that may be the way to go. Any opinions?

Thanks,
Shelley
#4
Boston
286 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Personally I love the Gardner, but with one day in Boston, I wouldn't go to a museum. Neither really shows much about Boston history. You'll learn more about the city from the freedom trail and walking around the city, than from a museum.

If you do decide to go to museum, the MFA is very nice, but I was never wowed from the couple of times I went there. You can see what special exhibits are going on from their web site and those are sometimes really interesting.

I love the Gardner only because it is so unique. It's small though so it does not take up too much time. Both are a little off the beaten path, which may waste some of your time it the city, and you may want to take that into consideration.
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#5
19,300 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by MalibuCA
I only have time to visit one of these museums. Frommer's grants the MFA with 3 stars, the ISGM with 2 stars. Some reviewers absolutely rave about the ISGM while others complain that the lighting is poor and the docents are nasty. (For those who love the ISGM, please forgive me -- I don't write it, I just read it.) Given a choice between these two fabulous museums, which ONE should I not miss? Why?

Thanks for the help!

Shelley
If you have a short time go to the MFA. Go to the American Collection. They also have a beautiful new wing, and additionally great Japanese collection outside of Japan.
#6
19,300 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by MalibuCA
Thanks for your response.

Maybe I shouldn't spend my time in museums at all. Many people on other postings have suggested that I spend my time on the Freedom Trail, Beacon Hill, Back Bay, concentrating on neighborhoods rather than museums. I'm beginning to think that may be the way to go. Any opinions?

Thanks,
Shelley
Start at the Museum, than make your way down to Faneuil Hall. You can also cross over to the North End.

Those who say the MFA is just OK, have not seen it since the renovations. The museum is known for its American Collection.
#7
New York, New York
1,188 Posts
Joined May 2000
Major thumbs up to the ISGM. I loved it! Just such a unique museum and everyone I met there was super nice.
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#8
Boston
104 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
There is also the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) which is in the Seaport District, maybe a mile from the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal. Completely different from the MFA or ISGM but interesting in its own right. Plus, you could always walk back to the ship.