Monday, November 3, 2008

The Nichols House Museum

The Nichols House Museum is an example of Greek/roman revival called the federal style. This form of Architecture is found prevalent in many other styles in the United States, in particular the capital in Washington, D.C. Federal Style architecture was founded between 1780 and 1840. The initial purpose of the federal style was to implicate meaning in a democratic society similar to the Romans and the Greeks. The bald eagle represented an important motif in most buildings of the federal style similar to that of the Roman motifs.

Miss Rose, born in 1872, was a women rights activist, and the eventual owner that turned the house into a museum for the public. She was an accomplished woodworker and also helped found the women international league for peace and freedom. The most important aspects of the building itself are apparent in the interior spaces that may well have been decorated by the ladies of the house. Inside you may find tapestries, ornate rugs with natural motifs, other oriental influences, and sculptures of the early 19th century. These artifacts constitute a space that shows the family as being very worldly and experienced.

The house itself, designed by Charles Bulfinch, was much about the interior architecture within the house. However, on the exterior the front entrance is located down an Ally on the right side of the house. These Ally way entrances are meant to hide away from the street in order to portray a continuous line of design across the facades of each house on the street. Others speculate that the design was used to channel air through to allow the house to become cooler in the summer time.

Other buildings of this time period such as the United States Capital can be shown to have similar influences in design. The Federal style is most prevalent in the interiors of both buildings in such a way that either the room is octagonal in shape or the worldly decoration is shown to portray worldly viewpoints. Some distinguishing differences in the buildings are shown in the architecture represented on the exterior, whereas the Nichols house museum may have a side entrance hidden away from the street, the Capital is centralized on the landscape with other important building and structures. The Capital has a central dome that creates a much more centralized element along with the vertical emphasis given to the dome itself. These counterparts are not present in the design of the Nichols house museum, although the interior spaces may revolve close to each other.

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