The Driehaus Museum Store is celebrating its grand opening this Saturday, July 13. Here is a sneak peek of just a few of the beautiful items you’ll find inside, as well as a conversation with Corie Walcott, the Driehaus Museum Store Coordinator.
Tell me a little bit about the Museum Store space.
Corie Walcott: The Museum Store occupies what was once a guest bedroom on the third floor of the mansion. The interiors are as decorative as the Nickersons’ own bedrooms—there’s an original fireplace with English Minton tiles, and elaborate woodwork with some really beautiful marquetry. A lot of our visitors love this room—there is just something special about it.
The store is really an extension of the Museum itself. Everything inside the space feels like it belongs to the period—not only is it housed in a restored former bedroom, but all of the products are actually displayed on Gilded Age furniture from the Driehaus Collection. It’s unlike any other museum store out there. After the guided tour ends, learning and exploration don’t end. There’s still a lot of history to discover.
You’ve done a lot of thinking about Gilded Age tastes to fill the store with items that pay homage to that era. Did you learn anything interesting?
Walcott: The one thing I find fascinating is the “more is more” standard of decorating. People in the Gilded Age filled every nook and cranny of their homes with treasures. Having all of the period photographs from when the Nickerson family lived here has helped a lot, because I can pick out specific decorative objects and source their modern day counterparts. People may not put as many items on display today as the Nickersons did back then, but they can choose similar pieces and showcase them in a more modern way.
The Museum has been doing pop-up shops during programs and events, so many guests have already had an opportunity to get a peek at what will be for sale. What have been some of the items that get “oohs” and “aahs”?
Walcott: Our guests really love the novelty items—curios like small graphite sculptures, which are artfully carved, but you can also write with them. We also have scissors made of bone, and reprinted books from the 19th century. Collectors in the Gilded Age loved oddities and things that were exotic, unusual, or might spark a conversation. Our visitors are clearly in tune with that.
What are some of your personal favorite things?
Walcott: I carefully curated the entire store, so I love everything—it’s hard to choose a favorite. If I had to choose one, I’m really excited for our guests to see our replica J. & J. G. Low Art Tile trivets, magnets, and ornaments. I found an incredibly talented artist who has the same passion for Low Art tiles that we do, and she crafted products inspired by the range of beautiful styles and colors of original Low Art decorative tiles throughout the mansion. Visitors always love them—and wish they could take them home. I’m glad I’ll be able to tell them that they can!