Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

If you want to see some real drama–of the falling-to-the-floor and writhing-in-agony variety, just mention the words “art museum” to my kids. They love art, but art museums–not so much. We managed to go to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston through bribery (chocolate-chip cookies) and by bringing an extra kid (our fun cousin Lucy).

It was well worth the cookies. The just-opened museum extension by architect Renzo Piano was stunning (with emerald green bathrooms), the courtyard a midwinter tropical oasis, and Sargent’s “El Jaleo” as startling as ever.

The museum offered not just one but three art projects for kids. We made embossed drawings, painted watercolors, and constructed crowns, shields, and swords in the museum’s new art room. We went home happy and with arms full of art.