Nichols House Museum

Nichols House Museum We are open Tuesday - Sunday for tours at 10:00, 11:00, and 12:00. More info on our "Visit" page! The Nichols House Museum welcomes visitors year-round.
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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. 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.

New date! Now virtual! On February 6, Daniel Sousa of Historic Deerfield will discuss the history and recent rediscovery...
01/07/2024

New date! Now virtual! On February 6, Daniel Sousa of Historic Deerfield will discuss the history and recent rediscovery of a tour-de-force of Arts and Crafts design, Madeline Yale Wynne's Garden of Hearts chest. For more information and to register, click the link in our bio.

The Nichols House Museum is pleased to offer the Julie Linsdell and Georgia Linsdell Enders Research Fellowship for the ...
01/05/2024

The Nichols House Museum is pleased to offer the Julie Linsdell and Georgia Linsdell Enders Research Fellowship for the summer of 2024.

This fellowship supports scholarly research relevant to the Nichols House Museum’s mission, interpretation, and collections, with a focus on women’s history, particularly women’s lives in late 19th and early 20th century Beacon Hill and Boston. This opportunity is open to anyone pursuing advanced research, including, but not limited to, graduate students, academic historians, independent scholars, and museum professionals. Individuals from backgrounds that have traditionally been underrepresented in museums are encouraged to apply.

For more information, see the About section of our website.

Carved by Rose Nichols, this chest is based on a piece from the 1600s now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum o...
01/03/2024

Carved by Rose Nichols, this chest is based on a piece from the 1600s now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Though we don’t know exactly when Rose made it, she may have created it around 1903 for the Tapestry Room at Mastlands, the Nichols family country place in Cornish, New Hampshire.

A young adult during the peak popularity of the Arts and Crafts Movement in Boston, Rose embraced the concept of handcrafting beautiful everyday objects. She was not alone in her interest in wood carving. According to the book Inspiring Reform: Boston’s Arts and Crafts Movement, “the accessibility of wood-carving— readily available materials, simple tools, opportunities to perfect techniques on one’s own— and the physical and psychological benefits of manual work prompted a number of Bostonians, especially women, to take up carving.”

We’ve invited Daniel Sousa of Historic Deerfield to share the story of another Arts and Crafts woodcarver, Madeline Yale Wynne of Deerfield, Massachusetts. In 1903, Wynne carved her masterpiece, the Garden of Hearts chest. Join us on January 9 to learn more. For information and to reserve tickets, follow the link in our bio.

If you’re anything like us, you’re getting through these chilly days with lots and lots of warming cups of tea. We think...
12/30/2023

If you’re anything like us, you’re getting through these chilly days with lots and lots of warming cups of tea. We think that makes it the perfect time to share this beautiful teapot from the Nichols House Museum’s collection. It has a surprising secret— can you guess what it is?

The ‘silver’ teapot you see here, made in Staffordshire, England, between 1910 and 1930, is actually not silver, but earthenware hiding beneath a silvery coating! Known as lusterware, this type of pottery required a second, lower temperature firing with a metallic glaze. First developed in Mesopotamia during the 9th century, the technique became popular in 19th-century Staffordshire pottery, where it was employed to create faux-silver pieces. While delicate, lusterware is food safe; this teapot may well have held Rose Nichols’ signature rich and smoky blend.

Read more about lusterware, and this remarkable teapot, at https://bit.ly/46S0E86

The year is coming to a close, but there's still time to give to the 2023 Annual Fund.  Your donation today ensures that...
12/28/2023

The year is coming to a close, but there's still time to give to the 2023 Annual Fund.

Your donation today ensures that the Nichols House Museum is equipped to continue our work in education and preservation and fulfill our mission as an independent, non-profit organization. Every donation makes a difference, and we are so thankful for each contribution!

If you're still in the giving spirit, the donation link can be found in our bio.

In the spirit of the season, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on this year's Holiday House Tour fundraiser. It was ...
12/23/2023

In the spirit of the season, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on this year's Holiday House Tour fundraiser. It was a great success (for the first time ever tickets sold out!) and that's thanks to our generous donors. We appreciate everyone's support, donors and those who bought tickets, sponsorships, and ads. We look forward to seeing everyone for next year's tour.

🎂Happy 151st birthday, Marian Nichols! The middle Nichols sister, Marian was scholarly, interested in law and politics. ...
12/22/2023

🎂Happy 151st birthday, Marian Nichols!

The middle Nichols sister, Marian was scholarly, interested in law and politics. In 1899, she graduated magna cm laude from Radcliffe College, then continued her studies at Newnham College, a women-only constituent college of the University of Cambridge. She used her education to lobby for public causes and legislative reform, with a particular passion for civil service reform. She also cared deeply about her Beacon Hill neighborhood, helping to co-found the Beacon Hill Civic Association. To relax from the never-ending task of trying to improve the world around her, she enjoyed golfing, hiking, and riding— both on horseback and behind the wheel of her car.

A tour de force of Arts & Crafts design, this chest was created in 1903 by Madeline Yale Wynne, an artist working in Dee...
12/16/2023

A tour de force of Arts & Crafts design, this chest was created in 1903 by Madeline Yale Wynne, an artist working in Deerfield, Massachusetts. Known as Garden of Hearts, it was recently rediscovered and is now in Historic Deerfield’s collection.

On Tuesday, January 9, Daniel Sousa of Historic Deerfield will join us on Beacon Hill to share the history of the Garden of Hearts chest, as well as Wynne’s role within Deerfield’s Arts and Crafts Movement, her remarkably diverse artistic talents, and her innovative and progressive spirit. For more information and to reserve tickets, click the link in our bio.

🎶Deck the halls with boughs of… faux holly?The Nichols House Museum is decorated for the season— but only with fake frui...
12/14/2023

🎶Deck the halls with boughs of… faux holly?

The Nichols House Museum is decorated for the season— but only with fake fruits, flowers, and greenery. This is because real ones can bring with them bugs, sap, moisture, and all kinds of other things we don’t want near the house and collections. Staff also make sure that decorations won’t scratch furnishings, either by using soft trimmings, or by protecting surfaces with inert polyester sheeting.

Beyond all this, of course, we use only electric candles and lights for that Yuletide twinkle. Margaret (Nichols) Shurcliff remembered that during the holiday season, 55 Mount Vernon Street "had at least one candle in each window on the street itself, and on the front facing down the hill. ... No doubt the custom created a fire hazard, but individual charm beamed out of every window." With our electric candles we still have the charm, minus the fire hazard. We admit, we’re glad to have the safer electric option today!

The house will be decorated through New Year's Eve. For more information and to purchase tour tickets, click the visit link in our bio.

We are pleased to announce that our annual Beacon Hill Holiday House Tour is now sold out! Thank you to everyone who is ...
12/09/2023

We are pleased to announce that our annual Beacon Hill Holiday House Tour is now sold out!

Thank you to everyone who is supporting this fundraiser, as a ticket buyer or sponsor, and to our kind neighbors who are opening their homes. See you on Sunday!

Its almost time for the Holiday House Tour! We've put the finishing touches on all the details here at the Nichols House...
12/08/2023

Its almost time for the Holiday House Tour! We've put the finishing touches on all the details here at the Nichols House and can't wait for the big day on Sunday. There are just a few tickets left, so if you haven't purchased yours yet, click the link in our bio. ✨

We've decorated for the holiday season! For the month of December, each room is bedecked with trimming inspired by Nicho...
12/07/2023

We've decorated for the holiday season! For the month of December, each room is bedecked with trimming inspired by Nichols family traditions and turn of the 20th century styles. A few special items are on display, including Nichols family pieces not usually on view and a small loan exhibit from our friends at the Prescott House.

We're open Thursday through Sunday, with tours at 10, 11, and 12. For more information and to book a tour, click the Visit link in our bio.

Our Holiday House Tour reception will be held at the King's Chapel Parish House on Sunday, December 10. Open from 3 to 5...
12/01/2023

Our Holiday House Tour reception will be held at the King's Chapel Parish House on Sunday, December 10. Open from 3 to 5 pm, it will feature performances by pianist Joe Mulholland. He'll be playing holiday music and American songbook standards on the Parish House’s Mason and Hamlin piano. Following these upbeat selections, he'll be joined by renowned bassist Bruce Gertzwill to perform Bach Preludes, excerpts from Meditations by composer John Kramer, jazz standards, and original compositions from his recent solo release. Their performance in the Parish House chapel offers an opportunity for a moment of serenity amidst the bustle of the holiday season.

Click the link in our bio for more information and to purchase tickets to this annual fundraiser. 🎶

This Saturday, December 2, we will be open extended hours with tours on the hour from 10 to 2.Visit the house decorated ...
12/01/2023

This Saturday, December 2, we will be open extended hours with tours on the hour from 10 to 2.

Visit the house decorated for the holiday season!

Follow the "Visit" link in our bio to reserve tickets. (www.NicholsHouseMuseum.org/Visit)

The worldwide generosity of   is an inspiration to us during this busy time of year. To everyone who has contributed to ...
11/28/2023

The worldwide generosity of is an inspiration to us during this busy time of year. To everyone who has contributed to the Nichols House Museum this year, thank you! And to all who gave to the thousands of other non-profits participating in this day of charity, your philanthropy is appreciated.

Haven't had the chance to donate? It's not too late to make your gift count!

Happy Museum Store Sunday!We are proud to be participating in this global celebration of the power of the giftshop. Muse...
11/26/2023

Happy Museum Store Sunday!

We are proud to be participating in this global celebration of the power of the giftshop. Museum stores provide an essential stream of funding for non-profit budgets. During the gifting time of year, use your purchasing power for good by supporting the Nichols House, or one of the thousands of other participating institutions.

The Nichols House Museum will be open today for tours and shopping (10:am-1:00pm). We hope to see you there!

This sketch in our collection depicts Mount Vernon Street on a peaceful day in 1914. A carriage slowly clatters by, a so...
11/17/2023

This sketch in our collection depicts Mount Vernon Street on a peaceful day in 1914. A carriage slowly clatters by, a solitary dog walker is out for a stroll, and a lone automobile waits at the intersection with Joy Street. The front corner of the Nichols House can be glimpsed behind the street light and the tree.

It was drawn by Theron Irving Cain, a student the Massachusetts Normal Art School (later the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, or MassArt). A native of South Braintree, he graduated in 1916, and later taught at the school for many years.

Theron was not alone in finding Beacon Hill sketchable. Artists of the era were drawn to the neighborhood, inspired by its quaint streets, charming old homes, and historic character. You can learn more about the artists living and working on Beacon Hill at the turn of the 20th century on our walking tour, Brahmins and Bohemians, this Saturday, November 18. Follow the "Visit" link in our bio for more information and to reserve tickets. (www.NicholsHouseMuseum.org/Visit)

Image of Theron Irving Cain from The Final Touch, the 1921 Massachusetts College of Art yearbook, shared on the Internet Archive.

Each year, the Holiday House Tour takes visitors inside private Beacon Hill homes decked out in their festive best. 🎄Tak...
11/17/2023

Each year, the Holiday House Tour takes visitors inside private Beacon Hill homes decked out in their festive best. 🎄

Take a peek at some of the homes that were on the tour in years past. We can’t wait to see what will be on view this year!

This annual fundraiser sells out fast, so we recommend purchasing your tickets in advance. Head to the link in our bio to grab yours today. 🎟️

Don’t you just love fresh apples this time of year? Here we share a beautiful rendering of the ubiquitous autumn fruit, ...
11/09/2023

Don’t you just love fresh apples this time of year? Here we share a beautiful rendering of the ubiquitous autumn fruit, in one of the framed botanical prints that Rose Standish Nichols peppered throughout her home.

With her work as a garden designer to clients across the country, Rose’s interests and knowledge encompassed multiple disciplines, including architecture, design, fine art, and horticulture. We think she must have taken pleasure not only in the precise stippling and subtle shading of works like this one, but also in their botanical accuracy, as she had a keen interest in understanding the characteristics of the plants she chose for her gardens. Titled La Pomme Figue, this lithograph was based on a painting by Pierre Jean Francois Turpin (1775-1840). Turpin was a largely self-taught French botanist and illustrator who came to be considered one of the finest botanical artists of his time.

Since works on paper are extremely light-sensitive and prone to fading, the Nichols House Museum displays only reproductions of the many framed prints Rose placed on her walls. The originals are housed in archival boxes, safe from light, in our collections storage room. 🍎

We're lucky Rose's housekeeper and companion, Mary King, wrote down her recipe for eggnog. It makes enough for a crowd— ...
11/07/2023

We're lucky Rose's housekeeper and companion, Mary King, wrote down her recipe for eggnog. It makes enough for a crowd— perfect for our Eggnog Pre-Party!

We're celebrating the return of the Nichols House Museum's traditional eggnog evening to kick off the Holiday House Tour festivities. Drop by on December 6th for a glass of eggnog and get a preview of the decorations you can see on Sunday's Tour.

Tickets will be released soon! Museum members receive discounted tickets, and Patron Members are FREE.

Looking forward to raising a glass with you.

Feeling that chill in the air? That's right, the Beacon Hill Holiday House Tour is just around the corner! Join us on De...
11/03/2023

Feeling that chill in the air? That's right, the Beacon Hill Holiday House Tour is just around the corner!

Join us on December 10th for a winter walk through our beautifully decorated neighborhood with carolers and cups of cheer, and maybe a touch of that wintertime magic. ❄️

Will we see you there?

We're celebrating autumn with complimentary admission! On Saturday, November 4 our guided tours will be free. Advance re...
11/02/2023

We're celebrating autumn with complimentary admission! On Saturday, November 4 our guided tours will be free.

Advance registration required. Follow the "Visit" link in our bio to reserve tickets. (www.NicholsHouseMuseum.org/Visit)

Happy birthday, Margaret! The youngest Nichols daughter was born on October 30, 1879. Margaret's interests were many and...
10/30/2023

Happy birthday, Margaret! The youngest Nichols daughter was born on October 30, 1879.

Margaret's interests were many and varied, among them tennis, woodworking, and bellringing. She was a vocal advocate of causes she believed in, including women's suffrage and pacifism. A mother of six and wife to a noted landscape architect, she also taught carpentry classes and ran a business creating handmade furniture.

There are still a few spots available for our Halloween tours on Thursday, October 26!How did young girls in the 1880s t...
10/24/2023

There are still a few spots available for our Halloween tours on Thursday, October 26!

How did young girls in the 1880s try to divine their future? Which Nichols family member was accused of being a witch? Who were the famous soothsayers of Beacon Hill? Learn the answers to these mysteries and more, as we traverse three floors of the Nichols House after dark.

Follow the "Visit" link in our bio for tickets. (www.NicholsHouseMuseum.org/Visit)
🔮🎃

We'll be sharing few special textiles not usually on view during our Craftswoman and Collector tour this Saturday, Octob...
10/20/2023

We'll be sharing few special textiles not usually on view during our Craftswoman and Collector tour this Saturday, October 21.

One of those items is this wool and cotton needlepoint fire screen, embroidered by Rose around 1945 when she about 73. She created this piece to be used as a "summer screen," placed in front of a hearth in warmer months when the fireplace was not being used.

Don't miss this rare chance to view fragile textiles like the fire screen— and to learn more about Rose Nichols as a textile artist and collector. Join us for Craftswoman and Collector at 1:00 on Saturday.

Follow the "Visit" link in our bio for tickets. (www.NicholsHouseMuseum.org/Visit)

The Halloween spirit has descended upon Beacon Hill. We've started to notice some creepy new friends appearing in the ne...
10/18/2023

The Halloween spirit has descended upon Beacon Hill. We've started to notice some creepy new friends appearing in the neighborhood.

On Halloween, we'll be welcoming our smallest neighbors for trick-or-treating from 4:00 to 5:30. 🎃👻🕷️

We take our textiles very seriously here at the Nichols House Museum, and sometimes, when we inspect them closely, the d...
10/12/2023

We take our textiles very seriously here at the Nichols House Museum, and sometimes, when we inspect them closely, the details make us smile.

We’re sweet on samplers right now at the Nichols House Museum! The one you see here was made by embroidery enthusiast an...
10/06/2023

We’re sweet on samplers right now at the Nichols House Museum! The one you see here was made by embroidery enthusiast and former lady of the house Rose Standish Nichols.

Already an accomplished embroiderer by the time she made this sampler at age 39, Rose based her design on an 1842 Spanish sampler made by Rosalia Escolar (now in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). Scrupulous about giving credit where it was due, Rose signed her piece, “RSN after Rosalia Escolar Ano de 1842 - 1911.” Like Rosalia, she left out the letters U, W, and X from the alphabet.

This sampler, on display in the bedroom once occupied by Rose’s parents, Elizabeth and Arthur Nichols, complements several others featured in our special exhibition, “Embroidered Education.” You can also learn more about Rose's needlework on our upcoming textile-focused tour, "Craftswoman and Collector." For more information follow the Programs & Events link in our bio. (www.NicholsHouseMuseum.org/programs-and-events/) 🧵🪡

Visit the museum after dark! Get in the spooky spirit with a twilight tour of the Nichols House. Led by a costumed guide...
10/04/2023

Visit the museum after dark! Get in the spooky spirit with a twilight tour of the Nichols House. Led by a costumed guide, explore eerie happenings on Beacon Hill, witchy Nichols family connections, and more.

Tours at 5:30 and 7:00 pm on Thursday, October 26.

Follow the "Visit" link in our bio for tickets. (www.NicholsHouseMuseum.org/Visit)

This stunning 19th-century Chinese needlework box belonged to Rose Nichols. Throughout the 1800s, sumptuously ornamented...
09/26/2023

This stunning 19th-century Chinese needlework box belonged to Rose Nichols.

Throughout the 1800s, sumptuously ornamented needlework boxes such as this one were crafted in China for the European and American export markets. Rose was an accomplished textile embroiderer and a collector of East Asian decorative objects. This lacquered and gilded box, with many compartments containing finely carved sewing implements, must have served not only as a treasured helpmate during her many projects over the years, but also as a daily delight to the senses.

Learn more about Rose's work as a fiber artists and textile collector on our Craftswoman and Collector tours on October 17 and 21.
Follow the "Programs & Events" link in our bio for more information. (www.NicholsHouseMuseum.org/Visit) 🪡

Address

55 Mount Vernon Street
Boston, MA
02108

Opening Hours

Wednesday 10am - 12:45pm
Thursday 10am - 12:45pm
Friday 10am - 12:45pm
Saturday 10am - 12:45pm
Sunday 10am - 12:45pm

Telephone

+16172276993

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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.

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