Morristown’s Acorn Hall celebrates return of ‘Downton Abbey’

By Marie Pfeifer

For anglophiles who follow the joys and sorrows of the crusty Crawleys and their scheming servants, the wait is almost over.

Season Four of  Downton Abbey begins on PBS this Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014. Faithful followers stunned by Season Three’s tragic finale will seek answers. Can Lady Mary rebound after the death of Matthew, love of her life? Will the Roaring 20s allow Lady Edith to combine love and a career? Can Branson raise baby Sybil by himself?

The Morris County Historical Society knows a good thing when it sees it. On Jan. 4, the society’s Acorn Hall mansion in Morristown plans to partner with the Cosy Cupboard Tea Room of Convent Station to offer a “Downton Abbey Experience.”

The $45 experience includes a tour of the 150-year-old mansion and its Victorian Christmas display and a formal tea at the Madison Hotel.

Period costumes at Acorn Hall parallel the period portrayed in the PBS series 'Downton Abbey.' Photo courtesy of the Morris County Historical Society.

Period costumes at Acorn Hall parallel the period portrayed in the PBS series ‘Downton Abbey.’ Photo courtesy of the Morris County Historical Society.

“The themed rooms [of Acorn Hall] parallel the British Victorian era after WWI with American life,” said Amy Curry, director of the Morris County Historical Society.

“The clothing is American as are the exhibited activities. Instead of going to the Royal Opera, our American family is most likely catching a Broadway show. We like to tie the issues of the day with what is going on in the show.”

Acorn Hall’s exhibits are meant to be informative as well as entertaining, with a vignette in every room. The library, for instance, talks about men’s issues, and how they differ between America and England. Surprisingly, British women had voting rights after World War I, before American women.

Downton Abbey’s new season follows the Crawley family from the early to mid-1920s.

“We like to pull from our collection of period clothing to tell our vignettes,” Curry said. “In the spring we will have another ‘Downton Abbey Experience,’ featuring not only clothing and other artifacts but also the grounds and gardens of Acorn Hall. The backdrop of that exhibit will be determined by what is happening in the show.”

Local fans should keep an eye out for that one because, unfortunately, Saturday’s event already is booked.  To put your name on a waiting list, call the Cosy Cupboard at 973-998-6676.

The Downton-inspired vignettes will remain on display at Acorn Hall through Jan. 13. Call ahead at 973-267-3465.



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