January 16, 2012
New Wing at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Word comes to me that the new wing of the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum in the Fenway, Boston, will open on January 19. The "palace" (the original building) will be restored to be closer to Mrs. Gardner's original vision. The new wing cost $114 million. Another $66 million is allotted for work on the original building. Funding came from "private gifts, foundation and corporate support, and tax-exempt bonds."
The new wing is four stories above ground (two below) with a height of 59 feet. The original building is 70 feet high. Greenhouses will be opened to the public. Two 600 s.f. apartments are included for artists in residence. "Eight geothermal wells will support heating and cooling of the new wing." Geothermal? In Boston landfill? What next?
The new addition will include the 1,400 s.f. "Cafe G." "Highlights of the opening day menu include a small plate of Hannahbells cheese and a pear mostarda on toast; polenta Milanese, with creamy wild mushroom stew and a house ricotta; and a Moroccan spiced, slow-braised beef short rib, served with carrot puree and golden raisins."
The admission charges, themselves, are interesting:
Gardner Museum Members FREE Adults $15 Seniors (65+) $12 College Students w/ ID $5 All named "Isabella' FREE Anyone on his or her birthday FREE Students, faculty, and employees of Gardner Museum University Members and corporate partners FREE Special Discounts: $2 off admission for anyone wearing Red Sox paraphernalia (Isabella Gardner was an avid Red Sox fan) or with a Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) ticket stub (valid within two days).
And, to answer the obviously unspoken question, no, they still have not recovered those stolen artworks.