Plan a Visit

Visiting the Gardner Museum is a unique experience. Whether you are a first-time visitor or a Museum member, here are a few things to know before your visit.


Light levels inside the Museum vary from space to space. Although the areas surrounding the courtyard are often flooded with natural light, many of the Gardner’s galleries have lower light levels than you may be used to. Low light levels help us to protect works of art from long-term damage and maintain the interplay of light and shadow that has always been part of the Gardner experience. When entering a darker space from a lighter one, allow your eyes a few moments to adjust.

Information About the Collection

During your visit, you may be surprised to find that many of the artworks on display are not identified by labels on the wall. Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of the room guides provided in each room, daily free tours, and to speak with the knowledgeable Museum volunteers in the Living Room and in the galleries (wearing buttons that read “Ask Me”) to learn more about the collection.

The room guides and an overview of the Museum are also available online in PDF.

Please Don't Touch the Art

Even the lightest touch can damage a work of art, so please do not touch the art or furniture or even the walls. There are many objects in the Museum, installed in close proximity to one another and to visitors, and sometimes they seem like objects that you might touch. You are welcome to lift the fabric covering the glass on certain display cases throughout the Museum; these moveable coverings are clearly labeled.


The Museum’s security staff is there to protect both you and the art in the Museum. Please don’t hesitate to ask their assistance. They must pay attention to all the visitor activity around them, so please don’t be offended if they are not able to have long conversations or to elaborate on a question in depth for you.

Informed volunteers in the Living Room on the first floor of the new wing wearing “Ask Me” buttons in the galleries are there to answer your questions. Feel free to stop and talk to them during your visit.


Visit the Accessibility page for a complete overview of accessibility at the Gardner Museum.

Coat Check

All backpacks, packages, and laptops must be checked at the Coat Check on the first floor. Umbrellas must be checked or placed in a protective bag supplied by the Museum. Please leave oversized items at home so you may comfortably enjoy your visit. The Gardner Museum is not responsible for items held by the coat check.

Cell Phone Policy

We encourage dialogue in the galleries, but please be courteous to others. If you need to talk on your cell phone, please remain in the entrance area or outside the Museum.

Sketch with Pencils

Feel free to sketch with pencil in notebooks 11 by 14 inches or smaller. Other drawing materials (colored pencils, ink pens, etc.) are not allowed in the galleries.

Bring the Kids

The Gardner is a unique museum with lots to look at and enjoy for visitors of all ages. Family guides are available free of charge at the information area near the Courtyard, just outside the Macknight Room. You are welcome to bring single strollers into the galleries; however, we ask that you leave tandem or double strollers at the coat check. Additional strollers are available at the coat check for visitors to borrow. Children must be supervised by parents at all times.

Lost and Found

If you have left something behind, please call the Gardner Box Office at 617 278 5156.

Photography/Video Recording

Photography and video recording aren't allowed in the historic building, Special Exhibition Gallery, or Calderwood Hall. Photography and video are permitted on the first floor of the new wing.

Food and Drink

Food and drink are permitted only in Café G and may not be carried into the galleries or other areas. Outside food and drinks are not permitted in the Museum.

No Smoking

Smoking is not permitted anywhere in the Museum.