Boston House Museums Present “Bostonians at Home: Servant Life in Downtown Boston

On Saturday, October 22, three Boston house museums draw on their rich stories and collections to illuminate domestic life in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. Otis House Museum, Gibson House Museum, and Nichols House Museum offer a series of special guided tours focusing on servant life at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $7 and are sold separately at each site.

Otis House

In 1797, Harrison Gray Otis and his wife Sally moved into one of the most stylish mansions in the city. With four children and a burgeoning political career, the family required the assistance of cooks, maids, coachmen, and a butler. This tour will focus on the countless hours it took servants to prepare for an elegant entertainment and attend to the day-to-day operations of a large household. The tour includes a visit to the third floor, a space not currently open to the public.

The Otis House is located at 141 Cambridge Street, Boston, Mass. For more information, visit or call 617-994-5920.

Gibson House

The Gibson House tour offers a rare opportunity to see the service spaces of a row house in a virtually unchanged state. These areas include the kitchen, pantry, laundry room, and coal shed. The tour will focus on the daily routine of domestic help, highlighting the relationship between servants and house owners as well as social trends of the time.

The Gibson House is located at 137 Beacon Street, Boston, Mass. 02116. For more information,,

e-mail [email protected], or call 617-267-6338.

Nichols House

See the Nichols House from a whole new perspective. During this special event, each tour group will assume the role of newly hired servants becoming acquainted with the Nichols family household for the first time. The guide will explain the management of the home, and show the “new hires” the house and introduce them to their place in the household as domestic help. Take this unique tour to learn about servant responsibilities, social conditions, and lifestyle during the early twentieth century on historic Beacon Hill.

The Nichols House Museum is located at 55 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, Mass. For more information, visit or call 617-227-6993.

About the House Museum Alliance of Downtown Boston

This series of special tours is presented by the House Museum Alliance of Downtown Boston. The HMADB was founded in 1998 to provide opportunities for its member museums to create joint programming and publicity to focus attention on these historic homes as valuable recreational, historical, and educational resources for the community.

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