Today marks the official 100th birthday of Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House as a museum. On May 17th, Carrie Hoyle (my maiden name, not sure if we’re related), secretary of the Louisa May Alcott Memorial Association sent a letter to John Alcott Pratt, son of Anna and adopted heir of Louisa, inviting him to Orchard House for its official opening.
As noted on the Orchard House website, no major structural changes were made to the house after the Alcotts vacated it, and approximately 80% of the furnishings are theirs. It makes for a very authentic tour experience, especially with different drawings and paintings on walls throughout the house by artist sister May.
If you’re lucky enough to live near Concord, there are festivities taking place all weekend long at the museum including vintage dancers, 19th century children’s toys and games, silhouette artist, apple press/cider making, thematic tours, 1912 living history portrayers, birthday cake and popular 1912 refreshments. May27 activities also include a Centennial Legislative Proclamation and Postal Stamp Cancellation Ceremony.
Take a tour
If you can’t make it to Orchard House, you can take a virtual tour of each room!
The celebration continues
There are other events taking place in June including an exhibit of Annie Leibovitz’s photos from her book, Pilgrimage . Be sure and visit the Orchard House website to download a complete calendar of events.
My first visit and the aunt who changed my life
Here’s a picture of my first visit to Orchard House in 1963 when I was 7 (I’m the kid with the pigtails). My Aunt Petty (in the back row) gave me the children’s bio, The Story of Louisa May Alcott by Joan Howard which started this whole love affair with Louisa. 🙂 Thanks Aunt Petty!
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3 Replies to “Happy Birthday, Orchard House!”
The house is a great place to visit and its preservation is a tribute to an unusual American family. In your childhood photograph, note the large shrubs on each side of the front door. They are lilacs and they were in bloom during our visit to Orchard House earlier in May.
If I’m not mistaken, it’s one of the first such type museums in the country, and certainly the first for a women. Quite an honor!
Happy 100th anniversary of Orchard House!