Ashland Restoration Raises Interpretive Questions

YOU ARE HERE -> 1990s The 1991-92 restoration was a major turning point in Ashland’s history.  Not only was the house repaired and renovated, but its interpretation was thoroughly examined, questioned, and redone.  The restoration project became a remarkable opportunity to consider the interpretation “from scratch,” curator Eric Brooks says.  For the first time people … More Ashland Restoration Raises Interpretive Questions

Ashland in Trouble

YOU ARE HERE -> late 1980s By the 1980s, the Ashland mansion had fallen into serious disrepair.  Bettie Kerr, director at Ashland after Lorraine Seay, describes how this happened: while some maintenance issues extended back to the McDowell era (1880s-1940s), after the 1950s, things began to quickly deteriorate.  Maintenance had not always been done well … More Ashland in Trouble

Ashland as Fin de Siècle Showcase of Sophistication

See previous post for beginning of this discussion. YOU ARE HERE -> 1880s-1890s In the early 1880s, the Major and Anne McDowell transformed the Ashland mansion into a fin de siècle showcase of sophistication as they utilized a mix of decorative styles at Ashland.  Before moving in in 1883, the McDowells remodeled and restored the … More Ashland as Fin de Siècle Showcase of Sophistication

The McDowells: The Un-Victorians?

YOU ARE HERE -> 1880s-1890s Over the years at Ashland the house museum, there has been a definite fascination with reenacting the gracious lifestyle of the ‘Victorian’ McDowells (c1880s-1890s).  At Christmastime, for special programs, and in costumed functions, the staff and volunteers at Ashland have long reveled in evoking McDowell-era splendor. Henry Clay’s granddaughter Anne … More The McDowells: The Un-Victorians?

Children at Ashland

Children have always found Ashland to be a magical place to play.  From Henry Clay’s children and grandchildren, to James and Susan’s brood, to the McDowell girls, the estate’s young occupants delighted in their surroundings.  And it was not only the Clay children who grew up at Ashland: generations of African-American children of enslaved or … More Children at Ashland