This year marks the 250th anniversary of the Jeremiah Lee Mansion, owned and operated by Marblehead Museum (formerly Marblehead Historical Society) since 1909. The museum is a private, non-profit organization that receives zero local, state, or federal funding. In order to continue to preserve and protect the Lee Mansion, Marblehead Museum is committed to raising $250,000 that will be used to support the Lee Mansion.
This fundraising campaign is being led by an elite group of advocates. Serving as the honorary chair is Bette Hunt, former town historian, former executive secretary of the Marblehead Museum, and an outspoken and well-loved advocate for the preservation of Marblehead’s history. As Bette says, “The Lee Mansion is one of Marblehead’s jewels. It has meant so much to Marblehead over the years. It has seen so many changes, tough times, and good times. During this anniversary year, we hope Marbleheaders will come together again, as they did in 1909, to save this important piece of Marblehead’s history and identity.”
The other advocates are Peter Lynch, Gene Record, Ira Rosenberg, Gary Speiss, Ralph Sweetland, and Rose Marie van Otterloo. This group includes long-time supporters of the museum who share a great love of the Lee Mansion and Marblehead’s history. They are all active members of the community. With the advocates’ leadership, Marblehead Museum seeks to raise the funds necessary to continue to preserve and protect the historic Lee Mansion, which welcomes over 2,300 visitors and school children each year.
Like any historic building, the Lee Mansion requires constant upkeep. The museum has invested significant time and resources since 1909 to preserve the building and return it to its original glory. This palatial home was built for colonial merchant and revolutionary patriot Jeremiah Lee and his family. In the 19th century, the building was home to the Marblehead National Bank, Marblehead Savings Bank (now Marblehead Bank), and other offices and clubs. The mansion contains intricate carvings, magnificent woodwork throughout, as well as the only 18th century English hand-painted wallpaper still on its original walls in the United States.
For more information, or to take part in this campaign, please visit marbleheadmuseum.org or call the museum at 781-631-1768.
The Jeremiah Lee Mansion is open for tours June 1 through October 31, Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Other special events take place in the mansion throughout the year; a calendar of events can be found at marbleheadmuseum.org or on Facebook.