Guests can learn about the prolific Forbes family, view collections of Civil War memorabilia and 19th-century Chinese exports, and more
About This Deal
What’s included: Tour guides take guests through the Greek Revival mansion, which brims with American and European paintings, Civil War memorabilia, and Chinese exports from the 19th century. Guides highlight the mansion’s China Trade collection, which includes bronze Chinese cranes, Buddha sculptures, and three pairs of Chinese Foo Dogs. Other collections showcase personal items from members of the Forbes family, including a medicine chest used by Captain Robert Bennet Forbes in the 19th century.
- Tours are available every Thursday, Friday and Saturday throughout the year at 11 a.m. or 2 p.m., excluding special holidays. Check the calendar for availability and call to reserve at least 24 hours in advance. The Forbes House will be closed for the holidays between December 24, 2019 through January 1, 2020.
- The museum offers discounted admission to seniors and students
- Children younger than 5 and members enter for free
Need To Know
About Forbes House Museum
It didn’t take long for Robert Bennet Forbes to make a name for himself. He was made a captain by the age of 20, and he quickly amassed wealth and influence as a China Trade Merchant. And despite becoming one of the country’s most prominent businessmen, Captain Forbes still found time to design ships, write, and build an estate that would make Scrooge McDuck molt with envy. Along with his brother John, the Captain commissioned a Greek Revival mansion to be built in 1833. The house was intended for their mother, but over the decades, it would become home to many members of the entrepreneurial family—who collected four generations worth of paintings, artifacts, and various artwork.
Perched atop Milton Hill, the mansion—now a National Historic Landmark called the Forbes House Museum—transports visitors back to key moments in American history. In one part of the house lies memorabilia focused on President Lincoln and the Civil War, collected by the Captain's granddaughter Mary Bowditch Forbes. Her passion for that time period was so strong, she even had a replica of Lincoln's birthplace built on the museum's grounds. Other rooms showcase the valuable Chinese exports collected by the Captain. Sitting atop a table of Cantonese marble and hand-carved rosewood is the crown jewel of this collection, the Election Bowl, a porcelain vessel adorned with two Forbes family crests and two depictions of Scottish castles. In addition to tours, the mansion also hosts various cultural events, including visits by artists, poets and collectors.