The Emerson House — Photo courtesy of Museums of Old York
As one of the most comprehensive historical districts in Maine, the Museums of Old York adds something new this year with its Decorator Show House exhibition. This year, this destination’s Emerson House, a 1794 Georgian Colonial home, will become the showcase for several premier local, interior designers and decorators.
These artistic professionals, with locations in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, have each taken sections of the Emerson House to display their decorative sensibilities in the style of this colonial landmark. From this home’s back entryway to the living and sitting rooms, each area of the Emerson House benefits from a refreshing makeover that combines modern artistic sense with a tribute to the early federal roots of this structure.
While you’re at it, be sure to visit the Museums of Old York’s other nine properties, all centrally located in downtown York. The structures range from a one-room schoolhouse to the Old Gaol, the original town jail. The Old Gaol, in particular, is worth an extended visit. It contains a permanent exhibit that thoroughly examines the prison policies and attitudes of colonial and early republic America.Visitors can also tour the jailer’s family quarters and view, up close, cells with leg irons.
The Old Gaol — Photo courtesy of Museums of Old York
Several of the other properties are the preserved homes of seafaring captains and merchants. Many of these households contain knick knacks collected during transoceanic voyages – from Chinese pottery to headhunter masks. These homes represent York at the height of its shipping pinnacle, a celebrated era which came to an end with the War of 1812. The Museums are a great destination on those cloudy or rainy days when the nearby beach is off limits and families seek something interesting to keep the kids occupied and engaged.