Northshore Home

Fall 2015

Northshore Home magazine highlights the best in architectural design, new construction and renovations, interiors, and landscape design.

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Page 38 of 204

36 FALL 2015 Ropes Mansion 318 Essex St., Salem, writing, for donuts and boeuf à la mode, as well as a fascinating array of pots, pans, and culinary gadgets. "They may look very different, but we still have the modern equivalent in our kitchens today," Richter says. One of the upstairs bedrooms examines the life, ill- ness, and eventual death at age 24 of Sally's daughter, Elizabeth Ropes Orne, who died of tuberculosis in 1842. The room contains actual objects used to care for a per- son who was very ill, such as a warmer for medicine and feeding tool for someone who couldn't feed themselves. Like in the dining room, Ropes family correspondence provided clues to how they treated "consumption," as tuberculosis was called in the 19th century, and how Elizabeth was cared for before her death. "Some of these are poignant stories," Richter says. The house even showcases a largely intact 1894 bathroom—unusual for a house museum and newly opened to the public—and a gallery room devoted to the family's keepsakes. "We're looking at how families pass down objects through the generations," Richter says, as well as how these objects are treasured and imbued with a family's stories and identity. Among the keepsake collection is mourning jewelry, known as "memento mori," in the form of gold and black enamel lockets containing braided hair from Abigail Pickman Ropes, who died in 1839 after her dress caught fire while she was tending a fireplace. All of these objects and the way they're installed within the house create a rich experience that goes far beyond what typical house museums offer to visitors, showcasing not only a superb decorative arts collection but also a truly intimate glimpse of many generations of an American family. "This family looked on this house as their family homestead…. We did intentionally look for moments in the family's history that we thought visitors today would connect with," Richter says. "We've tried to cre- ate a wide variety of experiences within the footprint of that one house." NOTE The museum is free and open to the public seasonally, Saturdays and Sundays, 12 to 4 p.m.; the garden is open dawn to dusk daily. The Ropes Mansion's formal garden inspire

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