Decorative Arts

The Permanent Collection of Decorative Arts


The primary goal of the Julian H. Sleeper House is to display and interpret Gilded Age interior design concepts and lifestyles. Eastlake and Renaissance Revival furniture and mirrors, combination gas and electric chandeliers, Oriental carpets, and wallpaper by Bradbury and Bradbury (including original William Morris designs) all advance the principle of bringing nature indoors in a complex pattern of light and shade.

The Julian H. Sleeper House is one of the few museums where you may actually sit on the furniture. You will see both typical and unique furniture and decorative arts objects. Accurate interior design and elements of wit are mixed, just as they were in 1884. The house exemplifies the decorating tastes of the emerging upper middle class, showing the lifestyles not of the rich, but of a successful professional-class family.

The JHSH meets all of the American Association of Museums specifications of what defines a museum. There is a central defining purpose for the permanent collection, as well as several specialized subsidiary collections. The museum advances education by organized display of the collection and interpreted tours, as well as special events and exhibitions. The curatorial and archival functions are met by a catalog, a library, and research opportunities. The JHSH serves the community through membership in the Convention and Visitors' Bureau.