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Free First Thursdays


Thursday, August 4, 3 - 9 pm
Throughout the Museum

Free First Thursday tickets (timed entry between 3 pm and 9 pm) are sold out but you can still get tickets to visit the Museum earlier in the day. Children under 17 are always free of charge, and we'll have special Oliver Jeffers coloring sheets available for you to take home!

Join us on the first Thursday of every month for a restorative evening of discovery and community. Museum admission is free from 3 pm through 9 pm. Explore art, architecture, art-making activities, and seasonal horticulture displays in the Palace. The Café is open late for dinner and drinks. Advanced registration is required; tickets do sell out! All ages are welcome!

There is much to do this month! Please note: Proof of vaccination status and masks are required for all visitors ages 12 and older who plan to attend events in Calderwood Hall; please see details below.

  • Story Time & Artist Talks: Oliver Jeffers, artist and author, joins us for a celebration of his art, including Universes: Oliver Jeffers on the Anne H. Fitzpatrick Facade, his new film #HereWeAre: Notes for Living on Planet Earth, and his celebrated modern classics The Day the Crayons Quit, Stuck, Lost and Found, and more. Join the witty and talented Oliver in Calderwood Hall for his books and conversation about his charming illustrations, heartwarming stories, and boundless imagination.
    • Head to the Studio at 3 pm for a Book Signing with the author. Oliver Jeffers' books (and other fun gifts!) are available at Gift at the Gardner.
    • Readings and Conversation with Oliver Jeffers at 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm
    • Oliver Jeffers in Conversation with Pieranna Cavalchini, Tom and Lisa Blumenthal Curator of Contemporary Art, at 7:30 pm
  • Film Screening: Gather in Calderwood Hall to watch #HereWeAre: Notes for Living on Planet Earth, an Apple Original short film adapted from the best-selling children's books by Oliver Jeffers and narrated by Meryl Streep. The film is 36 minutes and will be screened at 3:30 pm. Or, stream #HereWeAre: Notes for Living on Planet Earth with your family now on Apple TV+; learn more at
  • Art-Making In the Studio: Enjoy art-making activities in the Studio between 5-8 pm inspired by our summer exhibition Drawing the Curtain: Maurice Sendak's Designs for Opera and Ballet.
  • Music in the Jordan Garden: Neighborhood Salon Luminary Veronica Robles and her all-female Mariachi band deliver a musical message of love, peace, and unity in the Jordan Garden at 5:30 pm and 7 pm.

How to Reserve Tickets

Advance registration is required for free timed entry tickets. Reserve your ticket online by clicking the RESERVE YOUR TICKETS button above.


The Gardner maintains its mask requirement for free and ticketed events in Calderwood Hall. Masks must be worn over the mouth and nose while in Calderwood Hall. Please contact the Box Office at 617 278 5156 for further information. 

The Artist-in-Residence program is directed by Pieranna Cavalchini, Tom and Lisa Blumenthal Curator of Contemporary Art, and is supported by the Barbara Lee Program Fund. Funding is also provided for site-specific installations of new work on the Anne H. Fitzpatrick Façade on Evans Way.

Studio activities are generously sponsored by the Polly Thayer Starr Charitable Trust.

Polly Thayer Starr (1904-2006) was an accomplished artist who captured the culture and whimsy of her native Boston with a unique combination of detail, emotion, and curiosity. For more, visit the Polly Thayer Starr Charitable Trust online at

The Neighborhood Salon is supported in part by the Barr Foundation ArtsAmplified Initiative and the Polly Thayer Starr Charitable Trust.

Education and community programs receive support from the Vertex Foundation, Rowland Foundation, the Richard K. Lubin Family Foundation, the Wagner Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Yawkey Foundation, The Beker Foundation, Liberty Mutual Foundation, GRoW @ Annenberg, The Hamilton Company Charitable Foundation, Thomas Anthony Pappas Charitable Foundation, and Janet Burke Mann Foundation.

Drawing the Curtain: Maurice Sendak's Designs for Opera and Ballet was organized by the Morgan Library & Museum, New York, and reimagined by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for its Boston premiere.

The exhibition is supported by:
Nora McNeely Hurley / Manitou Fund
Gregory Maguire
Patricia Romeo-Gilbert and Paul Gilbert
Media Partner: WERS and ERS+

The Museum also receives operating support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which is supported by the state of Massachusetts.