The building is one of many examples of Venetian Gothic Revival architecture, which became popular in the United States in the second half of the nineteenth century. Woven into its fabric are objects from many different periods and places, including Venetian sculpture and architectural elements. Sylvester Baxter, a newspaper writer, poet, and urban planner in the Boston area, expressively described it in his 1904 review of the museum.
“Yes, we are in Italy! Or at least, Italy has come to us, just as the Romans carried Rome with them throughout their empire, as the Greeks built up a new Greece wherever their cities rose on Mediterranean or Euxine shores. There are Venetian colonnades about the cloisters, Venetian windows looking upon the court, Venetian balconies, Venetian loggias, Venetian carvings embedded in the walls, Venetian stairs—all genuine, all ancient, all stones of Venice bearing the incomparable hue of age, touched with the friendly touch of time, weather-worn, smoothed and rounded by the centuries and here reverently placed to endure for a new lifetime in a new Renaissance for the new world.”*
Designed by architect Willard T. Sears under direct guidance from Isabella, the Museum reflects Venetian architecture, but it does not directly reference any specific Venetian palazzo.