The Trustees is kicking off the official celebration of its 125th Anniversary as the world’s first and Massachusetts’ largest conservation and preservation organization with a free, statewide “Home Sweet Home” Historic Open House Day. In honor of National Preservation Month and its official birthday on May 21, The Trustees invites Massachusetts residents and visitors of all ages to experience some of its most historically significant properties and landmarks through guided and self-guided tours, activities, games, and birthday-themed refreshments. The Trustees’ historic homesteads, five of which are National Historic Landmarks, are deeply rooted in our local and national history. Spanning the Colonial Era to the Modern Movement, they represent a preserved 300-year timeline of architecture, designed and natural landscapes, arts and artifacts, as well as fascinating stories of their former inhabitants, many of whom were politicians, thought-leaders, authors, artists, and titans of industry.
“Our vision for Home Sweet Home is to provide Massachusetts’ residents and visitors with the opportunity to experience some of the Commonwealth’s most treasured and historically important sites in our care,” says Barbara Erickson, Trustees’ President and CEO. “This year, our annual Home Sweet Home open house day holds even more meaning and excitement since May 21 marks the date marks the anniversary of our founding 125 years ago. It also kicks off the beginning of a year-long celebration designed to engage more people in our mission to save and care for these important places.”
Many years ago many forward-thinking donors passed the keys to their former homes over to The Trustees for safekeeping. During Home Sweet Home The Trustees are providing visitors with their own ‘key for the day’ and inviting them to come experience all the beauty, history, art, collections and stories contained within their walls as well as the exquisitely designed gardens and stunning natural landscapes that surround them. The free Home Sweet Home Open Houses will take place from 10AM – 5PM at nine Trustees historic sites which generally charge admission during the open season and a few of which are only open to the public a few times each year. From the Berkshires to Greater Boston, there’s a Home Sweet Home open to you. Visit www.thetrustees.org/homesweethome for all the details.
Throughout this 125th Anniversary year, The Trustees is hosting a variety of ticketed events as well as a series of 125th Anniversary-themed promotions and contests such as free property entry days, hiking contests, travel bingo games and more throughout the year. These experiences are designed to invite members, supporters, Massachusetts’ residents and visitors to explore Trustees properties and also share their stories, photos, and videos using #trustees125 when posting to social media channels. Visit www.thetrustees.org/125 to learn more.
Houses in Greater Boston
The Great House at Castle Hill, Ipswich
During Home Sweet Home, take a guided tour, join a talk or explore on your own. Enjoy chess, checkers, croquet and coloring at the Casino, or make your way through the house at your own pace with volunteers in each room to share the rich history of the house. Play lawn games on the Allée or join the children’s Treasure Hunt and see if you can find the 10 missing locks hidden throughout the house! Guests will enjoy complimentary birthday cake and can purchase additional refreshments from the gift shop.
Guided Tours & Talks:
11:30AM—Talk with Susan Hill Dolan, Curator: Preserving what the Crane family left behind
1:30PM—Italian Garden Tour with Bob Murray, Capital Projects Manager: Preservation and access for public enjoyment
2:30PM—Talk with Amber Wingerson, Curatorial Fellow
Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate, Canton
During Home Sweet Home, enjoy music, guided house tours, self-guided trail walks, and activities for the whole family.
Guided Tours & Events:
11AM & 12PM—House and garden tours (40 minutes)
1PM—Lawn games and kite making
2PM—Birthday cupcakes and raspberry sherbet in the Main House
3PM—Floral origami demonstration
3:30PM—Raffle winner selected (prize: one family membership)
4PM—Closing and door prize
The Stevens-Coolidge Place, North Andover
During Home Sweet Home select rooms of the historic house will be open for self-guided tours with docents available in each room to answer questions and provide background. Lawn games will be available on the grounds, including quilt checkers, croquet, tic-tac-toe, ring toss and badminton. Coloring easels, quilts and storybooks will also be available for relaxing in the gardens and light refreshments, including birthday cake, will be served. Plants from the greenhouse will be available for purchase and a painting of the greenhouse by local artist Kathy Rubado will be raffled off, with the drawing scheduled for 3:30pm.
11AM & 1PM—Garden tours with Horticulturalist and Superintendent, Kevin Block
Situated near the banks of the Concord River, the Old Manse is located adjacent to Concord’s Old North Bridge, where the Revolutionary War began on April 19, 1775. The Old Manse is a must-see stop on any visit to historic Concord. This National Historic Landmark was built in 1770 by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s grandfather, the Reverend William Emerson (1743-76). This Minister’s House subsequently became a focal point of America’s political, literary and social revolutions over the course of the next century. Here, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82) and Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-64) would draft some of their most famous works. Enjoy free admission during the open house, stroll the beautiful 6-acre landscape and take advantage of 15% off in The Old Manse’s Specialty Bookshop.
During Home Sweet Home visitors can view and learn more about the current preservation efforts taking place at the Manse, like the replica of Emerson’s chair, an exciting partnership with the Concord Museum and North Bennett Street School, as well as work surrounding the grandfather clock, wallpaper, and book and art restorations. Visitors can explore the Manse through self-guided tours with interpreters in each room. They can also borrow a book and a blanket for reading on the lawn, play lawn games, and enjoy a birthday treat.
Guided Tours & Talks:
11:30AM—Landscape Tour and Talk: Join Engagement Site Manager Tom Beardsley and Grounds Person Susan Adam to learn about the history of and care for this special site. (45 minutes)
1PM—Revolution on the Home Front: Join Madam Emerson, first lady of the house and wife of its builder, Reverend William Emerson, to hear the story of April 19, 1775 and the Concord fight in her backyard. (30 minutes)
1:30PM—Saving this Special Place: Preservations Projects at the Old Manse (30 minutes)
2PM—The Final Generation: Sophia Ripley Ames, writer, activist, and last baby to be born at the Manse. (45 minutes)
2PM—Recreating the Past for Today Demonstration: The North Bennett Street School’s Dan Faia will demonstrate the woodworking techniques employed in creating a reproduction of the chair and bringing the past to life. (Two hours)
3 PM—Saving this Special Place: The 1865 Steinway Piano (45 minutes)
Houses in Western Massachusetts
The Ashley House, Sheffield
During Home Sweet Home, visitors have access to this very special place that is only open a few days a year and can enjoy self-guided tours as well as celebratory birthday cake. After your tour, consider stopping by The Trustees’ Bartholomew’s Cobble property next door for some great hiking and, for the energetic, a climb up the 1,000-ft. Hurburt’s Hill for a beautiful view.
During Home Sweet Home, self-guided house tours will entrance you with the world of the Choate family and their staff, including original 19th- and 20th-century furniture, art, and the personal and household items of daily life. Naumkeag’s interpretative guides will be on hand to answer questions. Children and families can go on story walk, build a fairy house along the woodland trails, play lawn games and more! Guests will enjoy complimentary birthday cake and concessions and can purchase additional refreshments from the gift shop.
Guided Tours & Talks:
11:30AM—Naumkeag Garden Tour with Horticulturalist Eric Ruquist
1:30 PM—Tree Peony Talk with Cultural Resources Curator Mark Wilson and Horticulturalist Eric Ruquist