Behind the scenes at The Mount, our work is never done. We’ve got perpetually long to-do lists (year-round, in fact!) that keep our days fresh and interesting: historical research, exhibit preparation, events and tour planning, fundraising, property improvements… and, happily, much more.
We get particularly excited every year about now, when we’re preparing new programs and materials for the summer season. And we’ve got some great projects to debut this year!
First, we’ve created a new tour–one that focuses on the servants of The Mount. Inspired in part by public fascination with Downton Abbey, whose creator Julian Fellowes has cited Wharton as a major literary influence, the “Backstairs at The Mount” tour will highlight the roles, relationships, living conditions, and working expectations of the 20 servants who staffed the house and property each summer while the Whartons were in residence. Like other Berkshire-based households during the Gilded Age, The Mount relied on the Whartons’ permanent staff as well as local residents for cooking, cleaning, driving, gardening, and other daily tasks. Visitors on the Backstairs tour will hear some of their stories. The tour will officially launch in May. Tour times and prices will be posted on the website in the coming weeks.
Second, we’ve got a new exhibit that ties in with the new tour: the Kitchen Stories exhibit, designed to give visitors a glimpse into the inner workings of an early 20th-century “Berkshire cottage” kitchen. Thanks to local collectors, it’s got everything–including the kitchen sink!
Third, we’re presenting to the public for the first time two important collections. “A Fine Hand,” which will be displayed in the library, includes more than 40 sketches created by Edith Wharton. “Edith: Images of a Lifetime” is a video compilation of more than 50 images depicting Edith from her girlhood to her twilight years.
Fourth…Well, you’ll just have to wait and see! Our programming this year is more robust than ever, and there are plenty of exciting things coming down the proverbial pike. So stay tuned! And mark your calendars for this year’s opening day: May 3.