Nichols House Museum, Boston (USA): peeping behind the blinds

The Nichols House Museum was built in 1804.

Its last private owner, Rose Standish Nichols, desired that her home would be open to the public so that they could see what a Beacon Hill house really is like inside.

We were curious what lies behind those uniform exteriors and so it seemed like a good idea to visit.

Reason to visit: to see inside a typical Beacon hill home.

The house is one of four connected townhouses constructed in 1804 for Jonathan Mason, a Massachusetts state senator. It is likely Mason built the townhouses to the east of his own mansion for each of his four daughters and the designer was probably our old friend, Charles Bulfinch.

In 1885, Dr Arthur Nichols purchased the Nichols House as a family home and surgery, which he ran from the front room.   Rose was their eldest daughter, who inherited.  She didn’t marry and worked as a landscape architect, writer and suffragist.  Her sisters also worked – one owned a garage!

Nichols died in 1960 and the house has been open for guided tours since 1961, presented as an early 20th century family home.

The property is furnished with the Nichols’ furniture and there is a rather good Guardi above the fireplace in the first floor sitting room (which our guide didn’t mention until I queried the artist. She then declared it to be her favourite thing in the house.  I think I agree).

Dr Nichols' surgery room and study
Note the table by the tapestry and the Guardi over the fireplace

Miss Nichols’ bedroom

When visited: 2011

Website: click here

House * out of 5: **

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