Absolutely no photography is allowed within the confines of the museum, not even without flash, not even in the gift shop, so I have no pictures of the museum itself to share with you. It's an interesting place, though, because its items are from the collection of Mrs. Gardner; she also had the museum built and arranged her collections the way she saw fit, and then stipulated that nothing could ever be changed. It is a collection frozen in time--and this is why, after the shocking (still unsolved) theft in 1990 of several works, the empty frames remain hanging on the wall. The rooms can seem overwhelming; on the other hand, small delights are found everywhere. And in the center of it all is a courtyard, the place I remember most from my last visit to the Gardner, in my early 20s. It's warm, even in winter. Fountains trickle, green things grow, there are places to sit upon and just be somewhere beautiful, with no responsibilities at all.
I sat on a ledge and sketched. (I increased contrast on this photo since my pencil lines were so light; only pencils are allowed in the museum.)
(Even with increasing the contrast, that sketch is still hard to see.)
I was able to take my time in the gift store, too. I was hoping to find some postcards with images of lace from the lace cases--yes, cases of lace collected by Mrs. Gardner. How I wish I could have taken some pictures. The lace was gorgeous. You can get just a glimpse of the cases at this link. But the store is only about a year old and they haven't added any lace images yet--although I hope they do. However, the store is one of those gift shops that feels curated itself, a collection of carefully chosen items. It was lovely to browse for as long as I wanted. I bought a few things, too.
I want to embroider them. To my eyes--my biology-loving, ocean-loving, art-loving eyes--this is a book of embroidery patterns. This book had to come home with me. Of course!
I had some time before the train home, so I sat in the museum cafe and ordered the only appetizing-sounding gluten-free item I could find, a shockingly expensive bowl of mixed baby greens. But they made up for that by having really good coffee and a flourless gluten-free chocolate cake, and I ate it all, every last bit, except for the raspberries, because I do not like raspberries, but I do like flourless chocolate cake with chocolate sauce and a bit of whipped cream, and I don't mind sitting by myself in a cafe, reading a book and drinking coffee.
When most of your time and head space is given over to thinking and doing for everybody but yourself, a day alone is so, so necessary. I have requested, if possible, a day to myself in between all his business trips. I'll start dreaming about where I'd like to go after he's back from Thailand and before he leaves for Belgium...