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Tour Director
Practical Information

  • Visit the historical university collections of Harvard and Yale, featuring major Old Master, American and British paintings

  • Explore the treasures of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and the unique Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

  • Learn about the collectors and philanthropists who founded public art galleries in Hartford, Connecticut and Williamstown, Massachusetts

“Sarah was an excellent tour leader”

ACE customer on a previous Great Art Collections of New England tour

For any art lover, the museum and gallery collections of New England are a must-see. Their rich holdings of European and American paintings are staggering not only for the quality and quantity of works on display, but also for the beautiful buildings and settings that house them. This tour will allow us to explore these collections in depth, discover their histories and the extraordinary patrons who created them, and, of course, revel in their treasures and masterpieces by artists ranging from Rembrandt to Renoir.


Our journey starts in Connecticut, where we will visit the extensive university collections at Yale and America’s oldest public art gallery, the Wadsworth Atheneum. By contrast, works by Monet, Degas and Mary Cassatt are housed in a domestic setting at Hill-Stead in Farmington, a Colonial Revival house designed by Theodate Pope Riddle, one of America’s earliest female architects.


We will then head north to rural Massachusetts, spending a day in and around Stockbridge. This picturesque New England town was home to Norman Rockwell, whose images for the cover of The Saturday Evening Post chronicle 20th century American life, and Daniel Chester French, who designed the famous image of the seated President Lincoln for his memorial in Washington.


The Clark Institute in Williamstown was founded by Sterling and Francine Clark in 1955 to house their extensive art collection. The museum has recently been enhanced by a beautiful new extension designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando that provides space for temporary exhibitions and sits serenely in the Clark’s rural setting. Meanwhile, just down the road in North Adams is MASS MoCA, one of America’s largest museums of contemporary art, which opened in 1999 in a series of redeveloped industrial buildings. It is home to large-scale works by leading contemporary artists such as James Turrell, Louise Bourgeois and Anselm Kiefer, and sparks discussion about the role of museums in urban regeneration. 


The Mohawk Trail, a historical route with spectacular views once used by Native Americans, will take us back towards Boston. The collections of the Museum of Fine Arts are world-class and wide-ranging: the ancient world, the Renaissance, the Art of the Americas and works from the Far East are all well represented in this stunning museum building, its central rotunda featuring frescoes by John Singer Sargent. A short walk from the MFA is the astonishing Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, named after the woman who created her own Italian Renaissance palazzo to house her collection of art.


A final highlight will be a visit to the Harvard Art Museum. The wonderful collection of paintings and sculpture to be found here includes works by Botticelli, Fragonard, Whistler and Picasso. There will also be time to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Harvard Square and the university.


Our first three nights will be based in Hartford, followed by two nights in Williamstown, finishing with two nights in Boston. All accommodation will be of a three or four-star standard.


This tour will be led by Sarah Burles, MA, an art historian and museum educator who studied History of Art at Cambridge University before gaining a Masters degree at University College London. Sarah’s career in museum and gallery education included 12 years at the Fitzwilliam Museum as well as work in other Cambridge museums, and she is particularly interested in the lives of the collectors whose legacies have shaped the museums we see today. She is an accredited Arts Society lecturer and runs a series of online art history courses and lectures. Sarah looks forward to returning to New England with an ACE group in 2023.

Tour Code

Included: Cost of £4195 includes: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, seven breakfasts, two lunches, seven dinners with water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities for group services.

Not Included: Not included: ESTA, travel insurance, double room for single use supplement £655.

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