Nichols House Museum

Nichols House Museum A Beacon Hill Legacy

The Nichols House Museum's mission is: To preserve and interpret the 1804 townhouse that was from 1885 until 1960 the home of Rose Standish Nichols, landscape gardener, suffragist and pacifist. The house was built by Jonathan Mason and is attributed to Charles Bulfinch. The museum educates visitors by providing a unique glimpse into the domestic life in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries on Boston's historic Beacon Hill. We offer guided tours on the hour of the historic home.

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.

In honor of Rose, Marian, and Margaret Nichols, the Nichols House Museum is pleased to offer free admission to all on Fr...
03/05/2019

In honor of Rose, Marian, and Margaret Nichols, the Nichols House Museum is pleased to offer free admission to all on Friday, March 8th and Saturday, March 9th in celebration of International Women's Day!

Tours will be on the hour, but please note that space is limited so we will operate on a first come, first served basis. We hope to see you there!

#internationalwomensday

Happy Birthday to Augustus Saint-Gaudens! Born #onthisday in 1848 in Dublin, Ireland, Saint-Gaudens is celebrated as one...
03/01/2019

Happy Birthday to Augustus Saint-Gaudens! Born #onthisday in 1848 in Dublin, Ireland, Saint-Gaudens is celebrated as one of America's most important sculptors. The Nichols House Museum is home to three works by Saint-Gaudens, including this exquisite gilded bronze Head of Victory, derived from a study for the Sherman Monument (1892-1903) in Grand Army Plaza in New York. This specific cast is inscribed to Rose Standish Nichols (1872-1960), Saint-Gaudens' favorite niece and the Museum's namesake. Visit the Nichols House Museum to learn more about Saint-Gaudens and the important bond Rose Nichols shared with her artist uncle.
...
Augustus Saint-Gaudens (American, born in Ireland, 1848-1907, Head of Victory, 1897-1903 (this cast, 1902). Gilded bronze, yellow marble.

Our friends at the Worcester Art Museum are opening their exhibit "Travels with Hiroshige" tomorrow!https://www.worceste...
02/22/2019

Our friends at the Worcester Art Museum are opening their exhibit "Travels with Hiroshige" tomorrow!
https://www.worcesterart.org/exhibitions/hiroshige/
If you can't make it out there this weekend to view his prints, why not stop by the Nichols House Museum to see our two Hiroshige prints acquired by Rose Standish Nichols in 1934!

"Scenes of Yedo," 1840-1858, Hiroshige. Nichols House Museum Collection.

Happy Valentine's Day! This February, we hope you will help us show the Nichols House Museum some love! Our goal is to r...
02/14/2019

Happy Valentine's Day! This February, we hope you will help us show the Nichols House Museum some love! Our goal is to raise $5,000 to support our ongoing preservation and programming initiatives. We've already raised one-fifth of our goal to date! If you would like to contribute, please click the link below to donate, or give us a call at (617) 227-6993. Checks can also be mailed directly to the Museum.

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=77FADL5E7YXNG&source=url

Every donation makes a difference, no matter the amount. Thank you for your generosity!

Thank you so much to Stead McAlpin and Company for their work in reproducing our bedroom curtains! It is incredibly exci...
02/01/2019

Thank you so much to Stead McAlpin and Company for their work in reproducing our bedroom curtains! It is incredibly exciting to have these now installed in the Museum. Stop by for one of our general tours to see them for yourself!

We recently did a restoration project for Nichols House Museum in Boston. We scanned, separated and digitally printed their existing curtains that incidentally were originally block printed here in the late 1800's! I have attached some photos of the curtains in-situ at the museum and from the printing.

Barbara Brackman did an interesting blog about the fabric here:

http://barbarabrackman.blogspot.com/2018/06/pheasant-palm-chintz-2-half-whole.html

#steadmcalpin
#blockprinting
#textiles
#steadmcalpinarchives

The Nichols House Museum will be closed tomorrow, Thursday, January 31, due to the frigid temperatures being forecast. W...
01/30/2019

The Nichols House Museum will be closed tomorrow, Thursday, January 31, due to the frigid temperatures being forecast. We will reopen for regular tours on Friday, February 1. Stay warm out there, everyone!

Our Patron members had a wonderful tour with Curator Meghan Melvin at the MFA Boston last night! Meghan kindly pulled ar...
01/18/2019

Our Patron members had a wonderful tour with Curator Meghan Melvin at the MFA Boston last night! Meghan kindly pulled archival materials related to "Boston Made: Arts and Crafts Jewelry and Metalwork," before taking us through the exhibition. It was incredibly interesting and informative - we highly recommend a visit to the exhibition! For more information about our membership program, please see our website. Thank you, Meghan!

Happy New Year! As we look forward to the upcoming year, we invite you to give to the Nichols House Museum's Annual Appe...
01/04/2019

Happy New Year!

As we look forward to the upcoming year, we invite you to give to the Nichols House Museum's Annual Appeal. The Nichols House recently earned a mark of distinction through accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums. Your gift can help us to maintain the highest standards of professional practice in all areas of museum operations.

Together we can ensure that the Nichols House Museum remains a vibrant cultural resource in the Greater Boston community. Thank you for your generosity!

Click below to donate:
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=SRM49GEPSVEVU&source=url

This Christmas Eve, the singing of Christmas carols to the pealing of English handbells will echo throughout Beacon Hill...
12/21/2018

This Christmas Eve, the singing of Christmas carols to the pealing of English handbells will echo throughout Beacon Hill for the 94th year. The Beacon Hill Bell Ringers will delight those gathering with traditional Christmas favorites performed on the original handbells. The Ringers will hand out song books and to accompany the singing of "Jingle Bells," sleigh bells will be given to children.

The tradition began in 1924 with Margaret Nichols Shurcliff, who was raised at 55 Mount Vernon Street, which is currently home to the Nichols House Museum. On Christmas Eve of that year, Margaret and her children, including her youngest daughter, nine-year-old Alice, rang Christmas carols in front of their home, then, joined by a joyful gathering of neighbors, strolled the streets of Beacon Hill ringing carols. This celebration grew in such popularity that Margaret's family has continued for many years, passing bell ringing down to new generations. Some of her grandchildren still observe the Christmas Eve ringing on Louisburg Square, the perennial home of this tradition on Beacon Hill.

All are welcome to attend this free event- dress warmly and bring a small light to read the carols!

If you would like more information about the program, please contact Pamela Madigan of the Beacon Hill Bell Ringers at 617-680-3393

Holiday Gift Baskets are available at the Nichols House Museum! Our "Afternoon Tea" Basket includes a Blue Willow patter...
12/06/2018

Holiday Gift Baskets are available at the Nichols House Museum! Our "Afternoon Tea" Basket includes a Blue Willow pattern teapot, a tin of Nichols House Museum Blend tea, and a lovely tea strainer. Our "English Pleasure Gardens" Basket includes a copy of "English Pleasure Gardens" by Rose Standish Nichols, our English Pleasure Gardens tote bag, and a set of 8 notecards featuring designs from "English Pleasure Gardens." To purchase a basket, stop by the Museum or give us a call!

Many thanks to the Boston Herald for including our Holiday House Tour on their list of holiday events! We are so excited...
11/26/2018
Celebrate the season with fun, festive events

Many thanks to the Boston Herald for including our Holiday House Tour on their list of holiday events! We are so excited for this festive annual event! http://www.bostonherald.com/entertainment/arts_culture/2018/11/celebrate_the_season_with_fun_festive_events

Tickets can be purchased here:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/beacon-hill-holiday-house-tour-tickets-51308282454

Greater Boston is all about the holiday spirit — there’s practically a celebration of the season every day! Here are some great, can’t-miss events to make your days merry, bright and fun-filled:Faneuil Hall Marketplace 4 South Market St.faneuilhallmarketplace.comHighlights of the jam-packed Ho...

Through Nov 2, AmazonSmile is donating 5% (ten times the usual amount) to Nichols House Museum Inc. when you shop at smi...
10/30/2018

Through Nov 2, AmazonSmile is donating 5% (ten times the usual amount) to Nichols House Museum Inc. when you shop at smile.amazon.com/ch/04-6006789. #AmazonSmile #StartWithaSmile

We are so excited for this event and for this book! If you are in the area, we hope you will check it out too!
10/04/2018

We are so excited for this event and for this book! If you are in the area, we hope you will check it out too!

SOMETHING IS "AFOOT" THIS SATURDAY!

Please join us on October 6th from 12 pm - 2 pm for a book signing event with Kimberly Alexander author of Treasures Afoot: Shoe Stories from the Georgian Era at the William Hickling Prescott House at 55 Beacon Street, Boston, MA.

More about Treasures Afoot:

Kimberly S. Alexander introduces readers to the history of the Georgian shoe. Presenting a series of stories that reveal how shoes were made, sold, and worn during the long eighteenth century, Alexander traces the fortunes and misfortunes of wearers as their footwear was altered to accommodate poor health, flagging finances, and changing styles. She explores the lives and letters of clever apprentices, skilled cordwainers, wealthy merchants, and elegant brides, taking readers on a colorful journey from bustling London streets into ship cargo holds, New England shops, and, ultimately, to the homes of eager consumers.

Dr. Alexander teaches museum studies, material culture, American History, and New Hampshire History in the History Department of the University of New Hampshire. She has held curatorial positions at several New England Museums, including the MIT Museum, the Peabody Essex Museum and Strawbery Banke.

More about the William Hickling Prescott House & Tours:

The William Hickling Prescott House, at 55 Beacon Street, and the adjoining home at 54 Beacon Street, were built in 1808 for the Boston merchant, James Smith Colburn. These Federal period twin houses overlook Boston Common. The land was once owned by John Singleton Copley, America's most accomplished colonial portrait painter.

These 5 1/2 story brick town houses were designed by the esteemed American architect Asher Benjamin and are highlighted by two bow-fronts. Gracious geometric forms such as these accentuate the rhythm of the exterior design as well as create beautiful oval interior spaces. The building's Federal style features include a ground floor colonnade with delicate fluted Doric columns, elliptical fanlighted entrances with flanking side lights, colossal pilasters, elaborate iron balconies, and an ornamental balustrade over the cornice.

The American historian, William Hickling Prescott, lived at number 55 Beacon Street from 1845-1859. Prescott was one of the first English-speaking historians to write about the Spanish Empire. His books included histories of the Spanish monarchs and the conquests of Mexico and Peru. Some have been translated into several languages and remain in print today.

Prescott made major renovations to the house. He built a rear addition, which included his extensive library on the second floor, and a third floor study, now faithfully restored, where he wrote his History of the Conquest of Peru and Philip II.

After Prescott died in 1859, his widow continued to live in the house until her death in 1869, when it was purchased by her nephew, Franklin Gordon Dexter. The Dexter family replaced the original spiral staircase with the present colonial revival staircase.

In 1944 the house was purchased by The National Society of The Colonial Dames in The Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964.

The extensive collections of furniture and decorative arts have been generously donated by Colonial Dames. Chinese export porcelain and English ceramics are permanently on view.

The remarkable costume collection, dating from the 18th through the 20th centuries, includes dresses, fans, shoes, parasols and children's clothing, selections of which are on continuous display. The collection is available to researchers by appointment.

Owned and operated by NSCDA MA who is celebrating its' 125th anniversary this year.

Hours: 12-4, Note, tours start 15 past hour
Open April through October: Saturday's
Check our website or page for updates
Closed 9/22

Docent Guided Historic House Tour Admission is $8 Adults, $6 Seniors and children under age 12 free. We are a member of the Blue Star Museums Initiative: admission for active military personnel and their families is also free

Join us this Saturday for Smithsonian Museum Day! The theme this year is "Women Making History," which is certainly some...
09/19/2018

Join us this Saturday for Smithsonian Museum Day! The theme this year is "Women Making History," which is certainly something know about here at the Nichols House! Come learn about Rose, Marian, and Margaret and their impressive skills, interests, and contributions! Organized by Smithsonian Magazine

We will be back to our regularly scheduled tours tomorrow, August 30, due to the weather. If you are walking around Bost...
08/29/2018

We will be back to our regularly scheduled tours tomorrow, August 30, due to the weather. If you are walking around Boston today, please keep to the shade and drink plenty of water!

CLOSED TODAY - Due to the extreme heat expected today, Tuesday August 28, the Nichols House Museum will be closed for to...
08/28/2018

CLOSED TODAY - Due to the extreme heat expected today, Tuesday August 28, the Nichols House Museum will be closed for tours. Please check back to see whether tours will be offered tomorrow. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope everyone stays cool today!

We are so happy to see this new acquisition get some TLC (tender loving conservation)! Believed to have been carved by R...
08/22/2018

We are so happy to see this new acquisition get some TLC (tender loving conservation)! Believed to have been carved by Rose Standish Nichols around the turn-of-the-century, this chest - with its 17th-century style carvings - clearly displays not only women's contributions to the Arts & Crafts Movement, but also the unique role that Boston played in the national Colonial Revival. Thank you to conservator Melissa Carr as well as to all those who so generously donated to our campaign for conservation funds! We could not have done it without you.

A huge thanks to the Boston Landmarks Commission for sharing some highlights of our museum this week! It was lovely to h...
08/03/2018

A huge thanks to the Boston Landmarks Commission for sharing some highlights of our museum this week! It was lovely to host you for a tour!

It's our final day of the Nichols House Museum take over, and though it's bitter sweet, we learned so much about the history of this amazing museum. We would like to thank Charlotte Whittman for taking the time to collaborate with us and for taking us on a tour of the home. To close out our week, we are featuring one of the most elegant rooms in the home; the dining room.

With its striking embossed wall covering, the dining room of the Nichols House Museum is a visitor favorite. The faux-leather wallpaper was chosen by Arthur and Elizabeth Nichols, and it is a rare vestige of the Victorian era in the house. Faded with age, the plastered paper overlay was originally gilded and keen eyes will observe patches that have kept some of their gold sheen. Arthur and Elizabeth employed three live-in servants, Irish immigrant women who shared a bedroom on the uppermost floor of the house. In 1897, an adjoining butler’s pantry was installed by the Nichols to make for more efficient dining service. To the right of the mantle is the seventeenth century chair that inspired Rose Nichols’ reproduction chairs, shown and described on Day 3 of our Boston Landmark Instagram takeover.

-Detail of embossed wall covering, ca. 1880s

The Nichols House Museum is open to visitors year round and offers a robust calendar of programming and events.
Please visit their website for more information: http://www.nicholshousemuseum.org/

Address

55 Mount Vernon St
Boston, MA
02108

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

Opening Hours

Thursday 11:00 - 16:00
Friday 11:00 - 16:00
Saturday 11:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(617) 227-6993

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