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Statement from Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Text of a statement released Sunday, March, 13, 2005:

During the night of March 18, 1990, thieves dressed as Boston Police Officers entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and stole 13 rare art objects. On the 15th anniversary of their loss, the Gardner Museum calls for information leading to their return and asks for safe storage conditions to protect the art.

Anne Hawley, director of the Gardner Museum, affirmed: “We remain confident that these rare and important treasures will be returned to the Gardner Museum and enjoyed again by the general public. These works have the power to inspire thinking and creativity, two processes essential to a civil society. Isabella Stewart Gardner, this museum’s founder, understood that when she left them ‘for the education and enjoyment of the public forever.’”

For the first time, Hawley addressed a plea to a past promising lead. “On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the theft, I call out to an important person to us. Years ago, I received a lead from a sincere individual giving me information that was comforting and genuine. The person clearly was concerned about the stolen art and knew its condition. We acted in good faith and complied with the first request. I’m very much hoping that this person will contact me again by writing or calling, or through our Security Director. Contact information is available on our website I assure complete confidentiality.”

Hawley advised whoever is holding the stolen art that in order to protect the artworks, they must be stored in conditions that do not allow for swings in temperature and humidity – ideally at 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 50% humidity.

A reward of $5 million is offered for information leading to the return of the works of art in good condition. Please contact the Museum’s Director of Security at 617.278.5114 or the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 617.742.5533. Images of the art are available at

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