Ventfort Hall- Berkshire's Gilded Age Museum
If you are coming to the Berkshires, you can’t miss the town of Lenox with all of it's historic mansions.Ventfort Hall was one of some seventy-five mansions built in Lenox and Stockbridge during the Gilded Age, the period between the Civil War and the First World War. But in comparison with other mansions, Ventfort Hall has its amazing history of “surviving”. Originally, the mansion was owned by Sarah and George Morgan. After their death, the house was used for rent or sold to a series of owners. In 1945, Ventfort Hall was used as a dormitory for Tanglewood students, a summer hotel, the Fokine Ballet Summer Camp and housing for a religious community. “In the mid-1980s the property was sold to a nursing home developer who wanted to demolish the building. In response to this threat, a local preservation group, The Ventfort Hall Association (VHA), was formed in 1994. In 1997, with the help of many private donations and loans, and with a five-year loan from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, VHA purchased the property.”
This mansion has been gloriously and lovingly restored (although it will always be a work in progress) with hard working, informative docents relating its fascinating history.
But the true treasure here is the doll collection titled "Les Petites Dames de Mode". Totally designed and created by John Burbidge, the bridal designer for the famed salon, "Priscilla of Boston. " This gathering of some 40 dolls, all 29 Inches high, exquisitely detailed and dressed in period Gilded and Victorian age costumes - down to the last earring - is not to be missed!
Ventfort Hall is open all year round for the public. Besides the tours and exhibits, The Ventfort Hall also offers concerts and performances, lectures,“Dancin at the Mansion”, and, of course, it’s Holiday Events. The Ventfort Hall will be a Home For Holidays starting on November 23 through New Year’s Eve. Here, you will enjoy the “Mary Nutcracker Ballet and Victorian Tea”, “Lenox Caroling Festival Opening Reception”, or “Children’s Holiday Tea and Caroling”.
If you love art and architecture, you will appreciate what VHA is doing to bring the Ventfort Hall back to its original state.
Check their website for more details: http://gildedage.org/