Changes at The Mount Will Enhance Visitor Experience of Edith Wharton’s Home

PSNC Furniture (photo Patricia Pin)

PSNC Furniture (photo Patricia Pin)

(LENOX, Mass.) – Two new initiatives at The Mount will enhance visitors’ experience, making it less of a house and more of a home. The first is a partnership with the Preservation Society of Newport County that includes a loan of period furniture and paintings from its collection. The other is a new admission policy that welcomes visitors back to the property for up to seven days.

The Preservation Society of Newport County has partnered with The Mount on a loan of period furniture and paintings from its collection to assist in the interpretation of Edith Wharton’s home. This loan makes it possible for new audiences to see and enjoy them. The pieces selected are stylistically linked to the type of furnishings that Wharton used at The Mount and reflect the widespread influence of her 1897 book, “The Decoration of Houses,” on interiors in Newport and beyond.

“Historic house museums like the Newport Mansions and The Mount play an important role in educating the public about America’s architectural, social and artistic heritage,” said Preservation Society CEO & Executive Director Trudy Coxe. “This collaboration is especially appropriate because of Edith Wharton’s early connections to Newport, and so we are happy to be able to contribute to telling her story.”

In addition to the furnishings, The Mount has also acquired a set of Edith Wharton first editions. The books will be displayed in a newly crafted interactive exhibit dedicated to Wharton’s literary legacy. This exhibit will discuss themes in her work and how they stand the test of time as well as her modern appeal and influence on new generations of writers. Visitors will be able to browse the first editions at their leisure so they can experience Wharton’s words through a publication issued during Wharton’s lifetime.

Visiting the Mount (photo John Seakwood)

Visiting the Mount (photo John Seakwood)

The second initiative focused on audience engagement is a new approach to general admissions. Starting in May, adult admission to The Mount will be $18 and include access to the house, gardens, and exhibits for up to seven days from the date of purchase. According to recent visitor surveys, the average visit to the property is over four hours. This policy is intended to allow for deeper visitor engagement, without time constraints.

“We are looking to make meaningful, personal connections with our visitors. Encouraging people to spend more time on the property — interacting with Wharton’s story through her work, period objects, and the beauty of The Mount — is the greatest way can foster these connections,” said Susan Wissler, executive director.

About the Preservation Society of Newport County

The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island, is a non-profit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes, decorative arts and social history.  Its 11 historic properties — even of them National Historic Landmarks — span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.

 Edith Wharton's home (photo Jody Christopherson)

Edith Wharton’s home (photo Jody Christopherson)

The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home, is located in the Berkshires of Western MA. Hours, directions and a full calendar of events can be found at The Mount. The Mount is a National Historic Landmark and cultural center that celebrates the intellectual, artistic, and humanitarian legacy of Edith Wharton. It provides context to Wharton’s life and achievements through educational and public programs and the conservation and preservation of her historic estate and gardens.

Each year, The Mount is host to over 40,000 visitors. Daily tours of the property are offered May through October, with special events throughout the year. Annual summer programming includes a joint exhibit with SculptureNow, Wharton on Wednesdays, Music After Hours, and the celebrated Monday Lecture Series. Exhibitions explore themes from Wharton’s life and work.

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