Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture

“The Bay State is where the craft [of furniture-making] began in America and where it has flourished and endured the longest.” Morrison Heckscher, Chairman of the American Wing, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture, a consortium of eleven cultural institutions, was created as an unprecedented partnership to celebrate furniture-making in the Bay State. The topic may surprise you. Massachusetts brings to mind such diverse images as the Pilgrims or the Red Sox, John Adams or John Kennedy, the Big Dig or the Berkshires—but not furniture. Yet over the past 400 years no state has had a greater impact on this craft. The products of the state’s workmen number in the tens of millions and include some of the finest furniture made in America, from lavishly carved oak chests of the 17th century to the inventive studio designs of today. It is a legacy worthy of celebration.

Between March 2013 and December 2014, the consortium offered a multitude of exhibitions and events organized by our partnering institutions: the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, Concord Museum, Fuller Craft Museum, Historic Deerfield, Historic New England, Massachusetts Historical Society, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, North Bennet Street School, Old Sturbridge Village, Peabody Essex Museum, and Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library.

The Boston Furniture Archive is a project of Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture in conjunction with the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. The consortium of Four Centuries institutions developed a number of rich resources, many of which are now available through the Boston Furniture Archive's web site.

Participating Institutions

All materials are copyrighted by Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library or by participating institutions.

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