An avid collector of early American decorative arts, Miss Ima Hogg donated her estate and its furnishings to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in 1957. The mansion features several period rooms furnished with some of the finest pieces to be found anywhere.
Dedicated to furthering scholarship in American decorative arts, the Fox Point, Wisconsin-based Chipstone Foundation has many important holdings of early American furniture. The foundation's annual periodical, American Furniture, is a beautifully-presented collection of the most recent research on the subject. Many of Chipstone's aquisitions are displayed in the American Gallery of the Milwaukee Art Museum. Visit the Milwaukee Art Museum for more information.
Connecticut Historical Society
The Connecticut Historical Society collection includes more than 400 pieces of Connecticut furniture, including many examples from the Chapin shop. Search the online eMuseum for images and descriptions of many of the objects in the CHS collection.
DeWitt Wallace Gallery at Colonial Williamsburg
Located on the grounds of Colonial Williamsburg, the modern DeWitt Wallace Museum features a large collection of 18th and early 19th century English and American furnishings. Many of the icons of American furniture can be found in the second floor gallery.
Perhaps better known for their noteworthy architectural details, the colonial buildings of Historic Deerfield are also home to an impressive collection of early furnishings, both vernacular and high-style. Situated near central Massachusetts, you'll want to include pictoresque Deerfield in your next trip to Boston or New England.
Historic New England
Formerly known as the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, Historic New England maintains historic properties in five New England states and has over 100,000 artifacts representing the history of the region. Many of the organization's properties contain original or period-appropriate furnishings.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art boasts 25 period rooms representing a wide array of architectural styles. Its collection of early American furniture is unparalleled and is well worth the trip. The Met's web site features a zoom tool for taking an up-close look at fifty pieces of American furniture.
Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA)
As its name implies, MESDA's collection features pieces made in Maryland, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, and Georgia. The museum is located near the historic town of Old Salem, NC. The MESDA Library maintains a database of thousands of Southern craftsmen.
Museum of Fine Arts
The MFA in Boston has an impressive exhibit of furniture with the Karolik Collection as its keystone. Many examples of Boston and North Shore furniture, including John Seymour's masterpiece, the Derby Commode, are arranged in period rooms.
National Clock and Watch Museum
While the National Clock and Watch Museum features exhibits of timekeeping devices from around the world, it is especially strong in the area of 19th century American clocks. It also has a nice collection of tall case clocks representing the late 18th century. The museum is just one of the educational ventures operated by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc. of Columbia, PA.
Peabody Essex Museum
The Peabody Essex in Salem, MA, has a very nice collection of North Shore and early New England decorative arts. Its collection is very strong in maritime and Federal pieces and is the best resource for information on Salem's native son, Samuel McIntire.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Its rich history and contributions to American decorative arts are emphasized in the American collection of Philadelphia's Museum of Art. The Germanic influence evident in the "Dutch" handiwork of surrounding counties is also highlighted.
Rhode Island School of Design Art Museum
Located in Providence, RISD's Pendleton House is home to many fine examples of 18th and early 19th century furniture including works by the innovative and prolific Townsend and Goddard family of cabinet makers.
U.S. Department of State
One of the best-kept secrets in Washington is the exceptional collection of antique American furniture donated to furnish the Diplomatic Reception Rooms of the Department of State. The stately Georgian interiors designed to house such a collection are equally impressive. Due to their use for official government business and the sensitive nature of their purpose, visitors are asked to schedule a tour of the Reception Rooms at least 90 days in advance. To request a tour, visit the Department of State Reception Tours
The Wadsworth Atheneum, located in Hartford, CT, houses a fine collection of colonial furniture. Among its other holdings, the museum highlights the work of Connecticut Valley craftsmen who created furniture in the Pilgrim, William & Mary, Queen Anne and Chippendale styles.
The Whitehorne House in Newport, RI, has a stunning and extensive collection of Colonial and Federal period furniture made in Newport, elsewhere in RI, and S.E. Massachusetts. The collection includes a signed dining table by John Townsend as well as other items directly attributed to John Townsend and others in the Townsend and Goddard workshops.
Winterthur, the Delaware country estate of the late Henry Francis DuPont, houses what is arguably the most impressive collection of early American decorative arts to be found anywhere. The mansion contains period rooms furnished floor to ceiling with masterpieces of American furniture. Located near the mansion is the Winterthur Library which serves scholars of antique American decorative arts. Winterthur is a must see for any furniture enthusiast.
Yale University Art Gallery
The Yale University Art Gallery has a furniture collection with few rivals. Heavily weighted in colonial and early Federal examples, the nucleus of its collection was donated by Mabel Brady Garvan, an avid collector. In addition to the outstanding pieces exhibited in the gallery, there are over 1,000 works available for closer inspection in its Furniture Study. Visits to the Furniture Study must be scheduled in advance.
Early American Industries Association (EAIA)
The purpose of the Early American Industries Association, Inc. is to encourage the study and better understanding of early American industries in the home, in the shop, on the farm, and on the sea; also to discover, identify, classify, preserve and exhibit obsolete tools, implements, and mechanical devices which were used in early America. Members receive the quarterly publication Chronicles, and the newsletter, Shavings.
Founded in 1996, the Furniture Society is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance the art of furniture making by inspiring creativity, promoting excellence, and fostering an understanding of this art and its place in society.
Historical Society of Early American Decoration (HSEAD)
From its headquarters at Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, NY, HSEAD encourages research and offers instruction on all decorated articles that adorned the homes of our forefathers: furniture, cornice boards, painted tin trunks, coffee pots, trays, bellows, glass panels in clocks and gilded looking glasses, as well as painted and stenciled walls and floors. Members paint and work in many techniques individually, or in classes and workshops. They are taught by certified teachers in stenciling, Pontypool painting, gold leafing, Victorian flower painting, reverse glass painting, clock dials, country painting, free hand bronzing and theorem painting.
The Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America (ICA&CA)
The ICA&CA is dedicated to advancing the practice and appreciation of the classical tradition in architecture and the allied arts. While its web site offers much to the student of architecture, period furniture makers will find plenty of interest as well, including the bookstore and an online handbook featuring a useful explanation of the Five Orders with a discussion of classical moldings.
The Mid-West Tool Collectors Association (MWTCA)
MWTCA is a non-profit international organization whose purpose is the study, preservation and understanding of the early tools, implements and devices used by our ancestors in their homes, shops, farms and at sea. The industries and crafts in which these tools were used as well as the craftsmen who used them is the goal of its mission. The name of the organization is a misnomer since its membership of approximately 4,000 individuals is drawn from all 50 states and from many other countries around the world.
National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc. (NAWCC)
NAWCC, headquartered in Columbia, PA operates a library, school and museum for those having a fascination with the art and science of timekeeping. Members receive an annual subscription to two quality NAWCC publications; participation in regional and national conventions and trading marts, local chapter activities, workshops and educational seminars, and complimentary admission to the museum.
The Wooden Artifacts Group (WAG)
The Wooden Artifacts Specialty Group of the American Institute of Conservators has a long history within AIC. With more than 300 members, WAG provides a valuable professional network for wood conservators. WAG's primary activities are centered around the business meeting and specialty sessions at the AIC annual meeting. The web site features a Guide to Conservation Services.