Current Exhibition

Home is Where the Hearth Is

Image of staff that worked for Amelia Jones (1849 – 1935) at 396 County Street, c. 1900 – 1910. RJD Collections.

Home is Where the Hearth Is is on display now through summer of 2023. This exhibition reclaims this room for its original function as a kitchen dating to the Jones era (1851 – 1935). The display features kitchen implements from that era, and aims to show what the kitchen looked like, who worked here, as well as explaining how it functioned as a work and gathering space for staff.

The Victorian era (1837 – 1901) kitchen was the hub of the house for domestic staff. They gathered around a large, wooden table in the center of the room for meals, work, and conversation. The kitchen was typically a large, spacious room that was equipped with a range of tools and equipment for cooking and food preparation, including a stove, a sink, and a table for working on.

Because work started early and ended late at night, the kitchen was constantly occupied. In contrast to more affluent homes, the young female members of the families who lived in this house would have worked alongside the employees, doing light housework, seasonal cleaning, sewing, and a limited amount of cooking.

This exhibit was made possible with the help of our summer intern, Lexus Calvin-Rakoski, for her research assistance, and to the following for their loan of items: The Manley Family of Alderbrook Farm, The New Bedford Society of Friends, Jacqueline and Stephen Redfern, Nancy Rivet, and Pamela Sherman.

Hats Off! A History of Fashion in Headwear

Tintype of William Rotch & Annie Beard, c. 1871. Rotch’s glengarry is on display. 2022.4, RJD Collections.

Hats and headwear have a history that dates back to ancient civilizations. In many ancient cultures, hats were an important part of daily life and were worn for a variety of reasons. For the wearer, a hat could protect from the elements, serve as a form of identification, represent a symbol of status or rank, or convey religious convictions.

In addition to their practical and decorative functions, hats have in the past, as is true today, served an important social role by helping to define and communicate a person’s identity. The type of hat a person wears can reveal information about their age, social status, profession, and personal style, and can even give hints about their personality and character.

While the practice of wearing hats dates back centuries, the professional design and creation of hats is a relatively recent development, having become established over the past 300 years or so. Millinery is focused on the decorative and fashionable aspects of hat-wearing, and milliners (people who design and make hats) often create hats for special occasions such as weddings, parties, and events, as well as for everyday wear.

This display aims to highlight some of the more interesting hats and headwear in the museum’s collection, from Quaker bonnets to a World War I doughboy helmet.

The Quaker Lifestyle

Costume, furniture and other domestic objects give the viewer a glimpse into the life style of a New Bedford Quaker. 



The Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum
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