Our collections are a valuable resource for scholars and a window into history for our visitors.
The Wayside Inn maintains three museum rooms at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn, one on the first floor to the left of our front door (the Longfellow Parlor, which is both a museum display room and a dining room), and two just above this area on the second floor. These rooms feature period pieces from our collections and recreations of colonial life that will entertain, enlighten, and educate. Our most famous room, the Longfellow Parlor, was the inspirational setting for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic literary work, Tales of the Wayside Inn.
We also maintain display cabinets on both the first and second floors of Longfellow’s Wayside Inn featuring curated exhibits from our collections and temporary exhibitions relevant to the property’s history or the local community. All dining rooms and function rooms also feature antique furniture, period artwork, and other items from our collections.
Part of a separate house that was incorporated into the main Inn building sometime after 1796, this room was originally a kitchen with its large fireplace and a beehive oven used to prepare meals for the many travelers along the Old Post Road. A gravity-fed brass clock jack mounted to the fireplace turned the spit to roast joints of meat. With some of the oldest surviving wood beams and paneling at the Inn, some which wear visible scars from the 1955 fire, and an old cupboard stocked with pewterware, this room is often requested by our guests for its special ambiance. In fact, this room was Henry Ford's favorite room for entertaining guest while he owned the Inn.
In 1707, The Old Bar was the downstairs room of the original two-room two-story house built by David How for his family. This room was the heart of the home where all of the cooking, eating, gathering, and work was done. In 1716, when How was granted a license to operate a “House of Public Entertainment," this room became the first “public” room of the Inn for food and drinks. A “hidden” staircase tucked behind a small door provided a discreet escape for stagecoach travelers to upstairs bedrooms. Graced with an old wood-beamed ceiling from which pewter mugs dangle and capture the warm light of the generous fireplace, this room continues as our full-service bar and is a favorite refuge steeped in history for guests to gather.
Inspirational setting for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic work, Tales of a Wayside Inn, this room showcases important pieces from our collection and is perfect for intimate dinners or special occasions. The room is decorated in a predominately Victorian era style, reflective of the years Longfellow wrote his opus. The How Family coat of arms is prominently displayed over the fireplace mantle. n addition, to the left and right of the How Coat of Arms, are two framed reproductions of etched glass. On June 24, 1774, William Molineaux, Jr., Esq., a major serving in the Boston militia commanded by John Hancock, visited the Inn and, using his diamond ring, etched a good-humored poem into one of the front glass window panes of the Inn. The lines (no doubt inspired by good food and spirits!) read: “What do you think? Here is a good drink, -- Perhaps you may not know it. If not in haste, do stop and taste, You merry Folks will show it.” Longfellow corresponded about the etching and referenced it in the Prelude to his Tales of a Wayside Inn.
A former wood/carriage shed, in 1899, it was attached to the Inn by innkeeper Edward Lemon and opened as an art gallery to display his collection of paintings and objects d’art. After purchasing the Inn in 1923, Henry Ford added a bay window and used this room as his personal bedroom during his visits to the Inn. A double-benched fireplace alcove provides a cozy place for intimate conversations and a large iron chandelier complements the vaulted ceiling. Today, this room is mostly reserved for function use. The room exhibits framed photos reflecting Henry Ford's time at the Inn.
Display cabinets featuring a rotation of items curated from our collections are exhibited in these cabinets in the rear hallway off our main reception area.
This gallery, named in honor of one of our most famous How residents, showcases items curated from our permanent collection, as well as temporary wall-mounted exhibits. This room is also occasionally used for private functions.
The original purpose of this room is unknown, though at one point it was comprised of three rooms separated by thin wooden walls. During the E.R. Lemon and Henry Ford eras, it was called the Longfellow Bedroom, to honor the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who immortalized the Inn in his Tales of a Wayside Inn.
A highlight of the room is Jerusha Howe's pianoforte. After her brother Lyman's death in 1861, the piano was sold at auction to help settle debts. Henry Ford’s agents purchased and restored the piano for the Inn’s collection, placing it in the Longfellow Parlor in 1940. It was again restored in 1960 to correct damage caused by the Inn’s 1955 fire.
The room was once called the Teamsters’ Room, Washington Room, and later the Edison Room. At one time, it contained multiple beds and accommodated common lodgers, such as stage drivers and peddlers. A small stairway which is no longer in use connects this room to the Old Bar Room.
Click on the red highlighted rooms for photos and description.