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Are there restrooms at the Phillips House?

Yes. There are two restrooms; however they are not handicapped accessible.

When can I visit the Phillips House grounds?

The museum grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk.

Is the museum handicapped accessible?

A tour of any Historic New England property requires a considerable amount of standing and some walking. Phillips House has not been equipped with handicapped accessible ramps, elevators, or chair lifts. Folding chairs can be provided for visitors who would like to use them during a tour. We are glad to offer guests a visual tour of the second floor of the museum from the comfort of our visitor center. Visitors with limited mobility may be able to enjoy a first floor tour of the house and grounds.  Service animals are welcome. We encourage visitors with concerns to call ahead. We are happy to work with you to make your visit an enjoyable one.

Can I take photographs at Phillips House?

Interior and exterior photography for personal use is allowed at Historic New England properties. For the safety and comfort of our visitors and the protection of our collections and house museums, we ask that you be aware of your surroundings and stay with your guide. Video, camera bags, tripods and selfie-sticks are not permitted. Professional/commercial photographers and members of the media should visit the press room for more information.   

How do I become a member of Historic New England and get more involved?

Join Historic New England now and get involved in preserving and celebrating the region's heritage.  To join, call the Membership Office at 617-994-5910 or join online. You can reach the Phillips House staff at 978-744-0440 or by e-mail.

Do we need to take a tour or can we just look around?

All visitors to the house receive a guided tour.

What do the tours involve?

Tours of the Phillips House are approximately forty-five minutes in length and focus on how the Phillips family lived in the house around 1919.

When did the house open for tours?

Mrs. Bessie Wright Phillips established the museum (her husband’s childhood home) in 1973 as a memorial to her husband’s family and the sailing ship era of Salem.

When did Historic New England acquire the house?

In 2006, Historic New England acquired the Stephen Phillips Trust for Historic Preservation House from the family. The family was interested in the organization and their operation of historic house museums in New England. The Phillips House became the thirty-sixth Historic New England property.

What is the flag that flies in front of the house?

The Hawaiian flag flies because Stephen Willard Phillips was born in Hawaii in the 1870s while his father, Stephen Henry Phillips, was attorney general under King Kamehameha.

When was the house built?

Captain Nathaniel West and his wife, Elizabeth Derby, built the front four rooms in 1800. The rooms were moved to 34 Chestnut Street in 1820-21. Changes were made throughout the house’s history in the Victorian and Colonial Revival styles.

When did the family last live here?

Stephen Willard Phillips died in 1955; however, members of the domestic staff lived here until 1962.

Is there a connection between the Phillips family of Salem and Phillips Exeter and Andover Academies?

Yes, they all descended from the Rev. George Phillips, who came from England on the ship Arbella in 1630 with Governor Winthrop.

What is the kitchen sink made of?


Are the fireplaces made of plaster?

No, they are carved out of wood, parts may be a composite of wood and plaster.

Were the mantels carved by Samuel McIntire?

We are not sure; parts of the front four rooms may have been designed by him, someone of the same school, and/or his son, Samuel Field McIntire. They came from a house called Oak Hill, where McIntire did work.

Are those menorahs in the ladies’ sitting room? Was the Phillips family Jewish?

The Phillips picked up the menorahs on their travels. The Phillips men were Unitarian. Some of their wives were Baptists.

What kind of tree is that in the backyard?

A cut-leaf beech tree.

When was the carriage house built?

The carriage house  was built in the 1820s.

What cars are in the carriage house?

In the carriage house you can see the Phillips’ antique cars and carriages. There is a 1929 Model A Ford, a 1924 Pierce Arrow Touring Car, and a 1936 Pierce Arrow Limousine.

What is upstairs in the carriage house?

There may have been quarters for a stable hand or groom on the left side before the Phillips lived here. The right side had grain and hay for the animals. The Phillipses used it as another storage area.

What is the square footage of the Phillips House?

Approximately 10,000 square feet of living area; approximately 11,500 square feet including the attic and basement.