Day three of our adventure in Boston was another fascinating day. It was a day spent gaining new perspectives. We began our day visiting the Boston Public Library. Normally, when one thinks of a library, one may think of a building that holds and lends books and other materials. The Boston Public Library is not a normal library. It was the first library in the United States to lend books for free. Secondly, one would not think of a library to be filled with art. The Boston Library is filled with magnificent murals painted by John Singer Sargent. Beautiful sculpture and magnificent marble adorn the halls, walls, and stairways of this library. We spent the morning on a guided tour learning about these murals and mosaics. Our minds expanded — a library can be much more than a place to go and check out a book, study for an exam, or complete research. A library can be so much more!
Our afternoon was spent in the lovely Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum. After spending the prior day at the Museum of Fine Art, one may think The Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum would be similar. The Gardner Museum is a completely new perspective. First, the entire collection is located in Ms. Gardner’s one-time residence, built to emulate a 15th century Venetian Palace. There is a homey feel to the museum. Also, one may think that since this entire museum is filled with works of art donated from a private collection, it may be a small collection. But the collection is wonderfully large! It spans four floors of the one-time residence. Room after room filled with art from Renaissance masters and contemporary artists. Each room is staged precisely how Ms. Gardner had arranged them. In fact, one of the conditions of her donation of this amazing collection was stipulated upon her death: no art could be added or sold to the collection. Additionally, each exhibit had to remain precisely as she had arranged them. Nothing could be changed or the entire collection would be sold. We spent the afternoon exploring this quirky and eclectic museum, gaining a new prospective that a museum could be more than a large building. An art museum could be intimate, homey and a bit quirky and still maintain its integrity. Again a new perspective was gained.
Finally, we ended our day at the Boston Pops. What a way to end a day! Now, when you think of an orchestra or the Boston Pops, you might think of a more sterile, proper environment. One where the musicians play and the audience listens intently. Well, that was not the case! The Boston Pops celebrated the works of its former conductor, John Williams. Besides being the former conductor, Williams is famous for the numerous scores he has composed for motion pictures: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, and Jaws to name a few. After a brief intermission, Queen Latifah was the featured performer. Her performance in this historic building with the amazing Boston Pops Orchestra had the audience clapping, cheering, and singing along. The building was alive with music and energy. It sounded lovely to hear a contemporary artist — a rapper at that — singing with one of the best orchestras in a 135-year-old symphony hall. The crowd was excited and on their feet. The Geneva students where engaged. As her performance came to an end, our students and the audience erupted into a thunderous round of applause!
Now this was completely new perspective!