Homewood House Museum, a National Historic Landmark on The Johns Hopkins University's Homewood campus, celebrates the summer season with a new tour offering visitors a privileged perspective of this extraordinary summer residence built in 1802 for Charles Carroll Jr. and his family.
"This summer tour offers a unique experience of Homewood House," said Homewood's curator Catherine Rogers Arthur. "During the rest of the year, tours begin in the west wing, which was devoted to service activities. But this summer, our visitors will arrive in style as they would have in the 19th century. They'll enter the center part of the house that was used for entertaining, and see some of Homewood's most elaborately furnished rooms first."
As in Carroll's day, visitors this summer will enter Homewood House through the columned south portico, which was "designed to impress," Arthur said. "They can imagine themselves as guests of the Carroll family as they walk up the marble steps and pass through the magnificent front doors into the elegant and welcoming Reception Hall."
During the museum's daily guided tours, visitors will see the home's period-furnished rooms, filled with intricately carved woodwork, ornate plaster ceiling ornaments, and objects contemporary to or associated with the Carroll family, including superb examples of Baltimore furniture. Upon request, guests also may enjoy a rare inside view of Homewood's privy, located where the formal gardens once met the apple, peach and pear orchards. Made of brick with a wood shingle roof and two entrances, the privy retains its original domed ceiling and chestnut paneling, inscribed with illustrations, poetry and other boyish reminders of the time when Homewood served as site of the Gilman School from 1897 until 1910.
Designed by Charles Carroll Jr., son of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, a Maryland signer of the Declaration of Independence, Homewood served both as a country villa and a public expression of the younger Carroll's political, social, and financial stature as one of the nation's wealthiest heirs. Nothing was left to chance and no expense was spared in its design and construction. The 130-acre farm was located on a gentle knoll, far from the hustle and bustle of downtown Baltimore when it was constructed. This idyllic country house, its architecture and furnishings reflecting the lifestyle of a wealthy and cosmopolitan young couple, was a place where the Carrolls could entertain and impress others.
The museum is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tours of Homewood meet in the Museum Shop, and are offered every half hour with the last tour beginning at 3:30 p.m. Museum admission is $6 for adults, $3 for students and children over 6 years of age, and $5 for seniors. For information, call 410-516-5589 or visit www.jhu.edu/historichouses.
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