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When most people think of Italian villas, elaborate textiles, and Turkish smoking rooms, they don't picture them in the United States. But they used to be. The Victoria Mansion showcases the grandeur of art, design, and architecture before the Civil War. Based in the 19th-century Morse-Libby house, the museum is now open to the public, although it was once in peril of being ripped down and turned into a gas station in 1940.
Visitors can tour the house to see rooms dripping with stained glass, gilded mirrors, and satin textiles. From the very large?chestnut paneled walls?to the very small?a silver salt cellar by Tiffany & Co.?the home displays the most opulent architecture and decor of the age. In addition to guided tours, the museum sponsors public lectures, discussion groups, and scholarly symposiums on 19th-century topics, like the mansion's artwork.