Remembering Springfield’s Victorian Opulence

Exhibit Shows How the Rich & Famous Lived in Springfield

Exploring the lives of the rich and famous of Springfield’s past, the Springfield Museums’ newest exhibit is made up of items demonstrating the luxury with which Victorian-era elite lived their lives. Explore the exhibit to use material culture as a lens for learning about the people behind Springfield’s 19th century economic success!

For some members of 19th century Springfield’s community, the Victorian Era was an especially lavish and luxurious time. Artifacts from the results of the booming industries of 1800’s Springfield are showcased currently at a newly opened exhibit at the Springfield Museums. Titled, “Victorian Opulence: Springfield’s Industrial Elite,” the exhibit includes a wide variety of high-end items once owned and used by some of the most prosperous families of Victorian-era Springfield.

Open through early April of 2016, the exhibit uses examination of material culture to teach about the city’s industrial history and provides a look at day-to-day life in the households of the time period’s most elite. The items included in the exhibit – everything from top hats and jewelry to ornate grandfather clocks – project an obvious air of wealth, and their origins speak volumes to the economic privilege that their owners enjoyed. Read the rest of this entry »

Fashion from the Gilded Age: A Local History

The Kimball-Salisbury Women: Chicago to Tor Court
Local History & Fashion from the Gilded Age
Arrowhead in Pittsfield, MA

The Berkshire Historical Society at Arrowhead offers a glimpse of Pittsfield’s Gilded Age with an exhibit of exquisite fashions and photographs from Tor Court’s Kimball-Salisbury family. The exhibit highlights the gowns worn by four different Kimball women, all of whom spent summers at Tor Court, one of the Berkshire Cottages in Pittsfield. These “cottages” were actually mansions built by some of America’s wealthiest families in and around Lenox, Stockbridge and Pittsfield during the Gilded Age. These aristocratic manor houses came to be known as Berkshire Cottages.

Learn about the Gilded Age’s local influence at the Berkshire Historical Society at Arrowhead!  The historical society is hosting an exhibit of items and artifacts from the lavish time period, including exquisite gowns worn by and photographs of the Kimball-Salisbury family, owners of one of the many Gilded Age “cottages” found in the Berkshires.

Though called cottages, the homes were really anything but – they were colossal, exquisite mansions built as summer homes in the Berkshires for families who lived in the city.  The fashions included in the exhibition illustrate the changes in style that took place between 1910 and the mid-1920’s, as they change from beautiful gowns to sassy flapper dresses, illustrating the cultural changes that also took place at that time.

The exhibit illustrates history through fashion, and will help students learning about American history put their learning into a local context.

The Kimball-Salisbury Women: Chicago to Tor Court is open from Thursday-Sunday from 11am-3pm, from February 10th to March 31st, 2013.  Arrowhead is located at 780 Holmes Road in Pittsfield.  For more information call 413-442-1793 or visit

Celebratory Opening Benefit Brunch happens on February 9, from 11am-1pm at Salisbury Estates Community House in Pittsfield, MA. Cost of brunch includes ticket to exhibit. For more information and to order your brunch tickets, call 413-442-1793 x10.

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