Nichols House Museum

Nichols House Museum The Nichols House Museum has reopened for 30-minute tours on Saturdays only for groups of up to four visitors from the same household. Tours must be booked in advance.
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Visit our website to book your tour and for more information on our COVID procedures. In 1885, Dr. Arthur Nichols and his wife Elizabeth purchased an 1804 townhouse attributed to architect Charles Bulfinch. The house was where their three daughters matured into designers, writers, and social activists. In 1930, Rose Standish Nichols (1872-1960) inherited the property and began laying the plans for its establishment as a museum. Soon after her death in 1960, the Nichols House Museum opened to the public. Today, the Museum engages with the social concerns of those who lived and worked in the house. The Nichols House Museum maintains and preserves an original collection that reflects the Nichols family's cultural values and changing tastes across two generations. Highlights include sculpture by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Flemish tapestries, Japanese woodblock prints, and Boston furniture. Visitors also encounter day-to-day objects including an 1897 dumbwaiter and a 1936 radio. The Nichols House Museum welcomes visitors year-round. It provides an active schedule of lectures, programs, and special events for its members and the surrounding Boston community. The Nichols House Museum offers engaging tours and public programming for all ages. Groups that visit include students from nearby colleges and universities, adult learners, and youth. Visit and join the conversation.

Operating as usual

Did you hear? We've reopened to the public on Saturdays! Maximum four visitors from the same household and tours must be...
09/21/2020

Did you hear? We've reopened to the public on Saturdays! Maximum four visitors from the same household and tours must be booked in advance. Mask wearing is mandatory and social distancing is in place. Go to the Visit page of our website to book your tour and to learn more about the local, state, and federal guidelines we are following. Welcome back!

https://www.nicholshousemuseum.org/visit/

Yesterday we celebrated Labor Day! Between 1885 and 1929, the Nichols family employed domestic staff, the majority of wh...
09/08/2020

Yesterday we celebrated Labor Day!

Between 1885 and 1929, the Nichols family employed domestic staff, the majority of whom were women. Among them were Irish immigrants Nora and Hannah Burke (pictured left and center in first photo) who shared a room, possibly with other female staff, on the cramped fourth floor of the Nichols family's Beacon Hill townhouse (previously servants slept in the attic). While upper-class women of the Progressive Era expressed shock and concern at the brutal conditions endured by women working in factories, ironically, most overlooked the 16-hour workdays and unfavorable circumstances which they imposed on their servants. Working-class women, many of them immigrants, found a place in the labor movement by initiating strikes that demanded safer working conditions and better pay. In 1919, Margaret Nichols demonstrated solidarity in joining a picket line of women strikers at the Lawrence Textile Mills.

The second image shows Mary King, also an Irish immigrant, who worked as Rose Nichols’s live-in caretaker from 1957 until Rose’s death in 1960. When the Nichols House Museum opened in 1961, Mary King continued to live onsite as the Museum’s caretaker.

While the Nichols House Museum is most known as the former residence of Rose Standish Nichols and her family, it was also the residence and place of work for countless individuals. #laborday2020 #laborday #workingclass #immigrantstories #lawrencetextilestrike

Each day this week, we'll be sharing on Instagram an aspect of the Nichols family's life in Cornish, New Hampshire. In 1...
07/14/2020

Each day this week, we'll be sharing on Instagram an aspect of the Nichols family's life in Cornish, New Hampshire. In 1892, the Nichols family purchased a property in Cornish known as Chester Pike farm, and soon after the house was modernized, remodeled, and renamed Mastlands (shown here). Their social life at Mastlands revolved around the Cornish Art Colony, a community of artists established by the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907), Elizabeth Nichols's brother-in-law and uncle to Rose, Marian, and Margaret Nichols. Cornish is a densely wooded farming town situated on the Vermont border and along the Connecticut River, with impressive views of nearby Mount Ascutney. The Nichols family enjoyed their summers in Cornish, taking great pleasure in the Arcadian landscape—which they likened to the Italian countryside—and outdoor activities such as tennis, golf, and croquet (and tobogganing in the winter). Visit our Instagram @nicholshouse throughout the week to learn more about life at Mastlands!

Upcoming Virtual Program: Fashion in Portraiture Tuesday, 7/7 6:00-7:00pmWhat does our clothing say about us? What would...
07/02/2020

Upcoming Virtual Program: Fashion in Portraiture
Tuesday, 7/7 6:00-7:00pm

What does our clothing say about us? What would you wear to have your portrait painted and why? This virtual program will discuss three portraits in the Nichols House Museum collection focusing on the sitter’s dress and examine comparable costume items from the collection of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America. This virtual program will be led by Laura Cunningham, Curator of Collections and Education at the Nichols House Museum, and Elizabeth Weisblatt, Resident Dress Historian with the NSCDA and Visitor Services Representative at the Nichols House Museum. Laura and Liz will discuss the propagandistic nature of fashion in portraiture and examine real examples of historic dress for comparison.

This program is free, suggested donation $5-$10.
Register through Eventbrite:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/virtual-lecture-fashion-in-portraiture-tickets-111187562994

The Nichols House Museum is pleased to launch a new recurring programming series focusing on its collection. Eye of the Beholder will investigate the subjective nature of art and the context in which it is considered. The objects in the Nichols House Museum collection have taken on new meaning over time, beginning with the original environment in which they were produced, to their reappropriation as the possessions of Rose Standish Nichols, and now as museum artifacts looked upon by visitors of differing ages, backgrounds, and lived experiences.

ABCDEFG! Check out our new Object Spotlight this #textiletuesday featuring a Mexican sampler in the Museum’s collection ...
06/23/2020
Object Spotlight

ABCDEFG! Check out our new Object Spotlight this #textiletuesday featuring a Mexican sampler in the Museum’s collection by a Maria Josefa Gonzalez in 1840. Visit the Object Spotlight blog to learn more about the history of samplers and the special qualities of this example in particular. Maria’s sampler features not one, not two, but ELEVEN different stylized alphabets and numbers from simple lowercase block lettering to flowing capital script. The sacred heart motif in the bottom register suggests this sampler was produced in Mexico where religious motifs are more commonly observed in embroidery compared to Spain.

at the Nichols House Museum

06/22/2020

Dear Gibson House Museum and Nichols House Museum communities,

We write today to state firmly and unequivocally that the Gibson and Nichols House Museums condemn systemic racism and police violence. We stand in solidarity with the protestors and activists who are expressing our collective grief and righteous anger over the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, and Tony McDade and so many more. Their lives mattered and all Black Lives Matter.

Historic house museums are a place for engaging with new ideas and connecting our own stories to larger narratives that stretch backward in time. History is an essential tool to make sense of these complicated, many-layered narratives and put our present-day experiences in context.

However, historic house museums have long excluded certain stories from the history we tell. Black communities and individuals are one of the groups too often underrepresented or misrepresented in our spaces. Museums are not neutral and white privilege has long shaped our institutions.

There is real work to be done. We must further reflect on our complacency and educate ourselves, we must put inclusive history at the center of our museums, and we must ensure our institutions are welcoming spaces for everyone in our community. Along with our staff and boards, we also encourage all members of our museums and communities to join us in this work.

We promise to work harder and do better and we are here to listen to you as we do so. Please feel free to reach out to us. Museums are only as strong as the communities they serve.

Thank you ArtStuffMatters for reminding us that #MuseumsAreNotNeutral.
Thank you to our staff and communities for holding us accountable in this work.
Thank you protestors and activists who continually shed light on these injustices.

Sincerely,

Gibson House Museum
Nichols House Museum

We’re rounding out #PreservationMonth with this image of the Museum exterior taken earlier today. The house is the bigge...
05/28/2020

We’re rounding out #PreservationMonth with this image of the Museum exterior taken earlier today. The house is the biggest object in our collection! Today, our curator, who has been working-from-home, visited the Museum to collect data on the temperature and relative humidity—important environmental information to monitor and manage for the long term preservation of the collection and historic building.

55 Mount Vernon Street and the adjoining row houses (51, 53 and 57) date to 1804 and are attributed to Boston architect Charles Bulfinch (1763-1844). The architecture of 55 Mount Vernon Street is Federal in style with later Greek Revival additions. Throughout the 19th century, many of the earlier Beacon Hill facades were updated with newly fashionable architectural details, such as ornate doorways, mansard roofs, and bay windows. 55 Mount Vernon, however, is the best-preserved of the early rowhouses, retaining much of its original 1804 design. The four-story brick building is one room deep and two rooms wide, divided by a central stairwell. While brick buildings were relatively rare in the 18th century (although occasionally found in urban centers), brick became increasingly popular by 1800 and the Flemish bond pattern of alternating stretchers and headers observed at 55 Mount Vernon Street is a common characteristic of Federal design. Other Federal elements repeated elsewhere in Bulfinch architecture include the painted stringcourse, recessed arches, lintels, and receding fenestrations. The Greek Revival portico was added in the1830s.

#federalarchitecture #beaconhill #flemishbond #bricktownhouse #neoclassicalarchitecture #neoclassical #charlesbulfinch #housemuseum #historichousemuseum #nationalpreservationmonth #museumpreservation

May is Preservation Month! There’s A LOT that goes on behind the scenes at the Nichols House Museum, much of which conce...
05/14/2020

May is Preservation Month! There’s A LOT that goes on behind the scenes at the Nichols House Museum, much of which concerns the long-term preservation of our 1804 townhouse attributed to architect Charles Bulfinch. This photo is from last fall at the height (pun intended) of our Collections Conservation Project. The CCP replaced the outdated climate control system with a new system appropriate for the heating, cooling, and dehumidifying needs of a museum collection, as well as building envelope upgrades to improve energy efficiency. We never said it was all glamor and glitz! This scaffolding was installed in the back courtyard next to the early 19th-century shed that survives behind the townhouse. A big thanks to all who contributed to this project, from donors, big and small, to workers—it takes many hands! #preservationmonth #preservation #historicpreservation #historichousemuseum

05/05/2020

Today, the Nichols House Museum is participating in #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of unity and giving in response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. While 55 Mount Vernon Street is currently closed in the interest of public health and safety, we remain dedicated to bridging the gap between history and the present.

By giving to the Nichols House Museum on this global day of giving, you will help us to sustain our mission and to continue to build and engage our community—both digitally and on Beacon Hill when it is safe to reopen. We look forward to seeing you soon and we are keeping you in our thoughts through these uncertain times. Thank you for keeping us in yours.

Visit our website at www.nicholshousemusuem.org to make a donation to our Annual Appeal.

05/04/2020

While the Nichols House Museum continues to be closed due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, we are hopeful that we will be able to re-open over the coming months. We will continue to closely follow state and federal requirements and recommendations in that regard so please check the Museum's website and social media for up to date information.

Happy Spring! This pillowcase embroidery done by Rose Standish Nichols ca. 1900 is currently out for conservation work. ...
03/20/2020

Happy Spring! This pillowcase embroidery done by Rose Standish Nichols ca. 1900 is currently out for conservation work. The vibrant colors seen here are preserved on the reverse side of the pillowcase while the exterior has faded greatly.

The historic image shows the pillow in the tapestry room of the Nichols family’s summer home, Mastlands, amid the Cornish Art Colony in Cornish, New Hampshire.

Foremost a garden designer, Rose Nichols favored botanical colors and motifs in her both her craft as well as her interior design work. She worked in historic embroidery and needlework styles reflective of Arts and Crafts and Colonial Revival trends.

03/12/2020

The Nichols House Museum has made the decision to close to the public for tours and public programs for the remainder of the month of March. The safety of our visitors, members, volunteers, and staff is of immediate concern, and given the current situation with the COVID-19 outbreak and the state of emergency recently declared in Massachusetts, we feel it is necessary to take this step. We will reassess at the end of the month about plans for reopening later this spring.

Thank you for your patience as the weeks unfold. Please check our website for updated information on programs and future opening hours.

Nichols House Museum's cover photo
03/12/2020

Nichols House Museum's cover photo

What a wonderful year we've had! Thank you all so much for your support. We wish you a very happy New Year and hope to s...
12/31/2019

What a wonderful year we've had! Thank you all so much for your support. We wish you a very happy New Year and hope to see you in the next decade!

We wish you a very happy holiday with family and friends. We will be closed for tours on Thursday, Nov. 28, and Friday, ...
11/27/2019

We wish you a very happy holiday with family and friends. We will be closed for tours on Thursday, Nov. 28, and Friday, Nov. 29. Regular tours will resume on Saturday, Nov. 30!

Last night our Patron members enjoyed a wonderful private tour of "Women Take the Floor" with MFA curator Nonie Gadsden!...
11/15/2019

Last night our Patron members enjoyed a wonderful private tour of "Women Take the Floor" with MFA curator Nonie Gadsden! So many beautiful and moving works of art.

One of our favorites was "Self Portrait: The Algerian Tunic" by Polly Thayer, 1927. Rose Nichols had her portrait painted by Polly Thayer a few years after this, and you can come see the painting on one of our tours!

For any information about the Patron Program or our upcoming events, please visit our website or contact the Museum.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

We are temporarily CLOSED during the months of September and October as we implement climate control upgrades. We will r...
09/03/2019

We are temporarily CLOSED during the months of September and October as we implement climate control upgrades. We will reopen to the public on November 1, 2019. In the meantime, visit our website to learn more about our upcoming programs and events being held offsite at partner institutions!

http://nicholshousemuseum.org/programs_events.php

On Monday we visited the Cornish Art Colony including Aspet, the home of Augustus and Augusta Saint-Gaudens. The famed s...
08/23/2019

On Monday we visited the Cornish Art Colony including Aspet, the home of Augustus and Augusta Saint-Gaudens. The famed sculptor married Elizabeth Homer Nichols’s younger sister Augusta who was an artist in her own right. The current exhibition at @saintgaudensnps focuses on Augusta’s life and work. Ultimately, it was her uncle that proved to be a major influence on Rose Nichols’ career. We also visited Mastands, the Nichols family’s nearby summer estate. Not a bad Monday at the office!

#saintgaudensnhs #augustussaintgaudens #augustasaintgaudens #saintgaudens #aspet #cornishartcolony #rosestandishnichols #nicholshousemuseum

It was a beautiful morning for Nichols House Museum members to tour the Longfellow House and Garden! The Colonial Reviva...
06/12/2019

It was a beautiful morning for Nichols House Museum members to tour the Longfellow House and Garden! The Colonial Revival garden was designed by Martha Brookes Hutcheson and Ellen Biddle Shipman, a colleague and friend of Rose Standish Nichols. Thanks to Longfellow House - Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site for a great visit!

We are thrilled to announce that the Museum has received a $125,000 matching Capital grant from Mass Cultural Council's ...
05/17/2019

We are thrilled to announce that the Museum has received a $125,000 matching Capital grant from Mass Cultural Council's Cultural Facilities Fund towards our Collections Conservation Project! Our project will upgrade the outdated climate control system and also improve the building's energy efficiency. These changes ensure the long-term preservation of the building and collection. Thanks, Charlie Baker for supporting the #CulturalFacilities Fund and the Mass Cultural Council!

Thanks to our friends at Wisteria & Rose, the museum is ready for the upcoming Beacon Hill Garden Tour! They have been s...
05/10/2019

Thanks to our friends at Wisteria & Rose, the museum is ready for the upcoming Beacon Hill Garden Tour! They have been so generous as to donate their time to cleaning up the Museum's courtyard, new window boxes, and an upcoming irrigation system, and we could not be more grateful. Check out the finished product below! Wisteria & Rose is a woman-owned and women-run business, which Rose Nichols would have greatly appreciated. Find out more about Rose's experience as a female landscape architect and see some of the gardens she designed at our new exhibit, The Gardens of Rose Standish Nichols, 1890-1930, which opens May 16th!

Independent researcher Rosemary Foy has been volunteering at the Nichols House Museum in preparation for our summer exhi...
03/07/2019
Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum celebrates women of New England horticulture

Independent researcher Rosemary Foy has been volunteering at the Nichols House Museum in preparation for our summer exhibition that will look more closely at the gardens designed by Rose Standish Nichols. We are thrilled to share that she will be speaking about some of this research this coming Saturday at the Arnold Arboretum!
https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2019/03/harvards-arnold-arboretum-celebrates-women-of-new-england-horticulture/

Many thanks to Rosemary for all of her hard work! Stay tuned for more information about the exhibition and related programming.

In observation of Women’s History Month, the Arnold Arboretum is presenting a seminar March 9 honoring six notable 20th-century New England women in horticulture.

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55 Mount Vernon St
Boston, MA
02108

Red or Green Line to Park Street; Red Line to Charles/MGH

Opening Hours

Saturday 11:00 - 14:00

Telephone

(617) 227-6993

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Our Story

In 1885, Dr. Arthur Nichols and his wife Elizabeth purchased an 1804 townhouse attributed to architect Charles Bulfinch. The house was where their three daughters matured into designers, writers, and social activists. In 1930, Rose Standish Nichols (1872-1960) inherited the property and began laying the plans for its establishment as a museum. Soon after her death in 1960, the Nichols House Museum opened to the public. Today, the Museum engages with the social concerns of those who lived and worked in the house.

The Nichols House Museum maintains and preserves an original collection which reflects the Nichols family's cultural values and changing tastes across two generations. Highlights include sculpture by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Flemish tapestries, Japanese woodblock prints, and Boston furniture. Visitors also encounter day-to-day objects including an 1897 dumbwaiter and a 1936 radio.

The Nichols House Museum welcomes visitors year-round. It provides an active schedule of lectures, programs, and special events for its members and the surrounding Boston community. The Nichols House Museum offers engaging tours and public programming for all ages. Groups that visit include students from nearby colleges and universities, adult learners, and youth.

Visit and join the conversation.

Nearby museums