Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum
396 County Street, New Bedford, MA 02740 - United States
Built by shipwrights in 1834 for whaling merchant William Rotch Jr., the Rotch-Jones-Duff (RJD) House and Garden Museum epitomizes the “brave houses and flowery gardens” described by Herman Melville in Moby-Dick. Greek Revival in style, it was designed by architect Richard Upjohn, a founder and first president of the American Institute or Architects.
396 County Street was home to three prominent and influential New Bedford families; William Rotch Jr., 1834 to 1850; Edward Coffin Jones, 1851 – 1935; and Mark M. Duff, 1935 – 1981. The estate chronicles important chapters in American history when New Bedford had a major influence on the international arenas of commerce, trade, and culture via whaling, and later through textiles.
The property encompasses a full city block of gardens which include a boxwood parterre rose garden, a boxwood specimen garden, a woodland garden and a cutting garden. It is the only whaling mansion open to the public in New England that retains its original configuration of grounds and outbuildings.
Today this National Historic Landmark offers house tours, a variety of cultural programs, changing exhibitions, and curriculum-based educational programming to more than 7,000 visitors annually.
New Bedford, known for its Quaker principles, has been home to many women who have advocated for changes that have improved the lives of others. The RJD’s winter 2020 exhibition, “Shaking the Foundations: Movements Towards Equality for Women,” features photographs of local New Bedford suffragists and some clothing from the suffragist period. The exhibition aims to help visitors understand why women protested and the incremental changes that were made towards equality.
In addition to this special exhibition, visitors to the RJD can see rooms furnished in the periods of all three families (1834 through 1981) and two exhibitions focused on the Rotch and Jones families.
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