If you love antiques, Cogswell’s Grant should be on your itinerary. This eighteenth-century farmhouse, summer home of collectors Bertram K. and Nina Fletcher Little, contains their celebrated collection of American folk art, which they assembled over a period of nearly sixty years.
Portraits, redware pottery, painted furniture, scrimshaw, wood carvings, decoys and sculptures, hooked rugs, and other textiles are showcased throughout. The collection is displayed exactly as the family lived with it and shared it with their friends and fellow collectors.
Location: 60 Spring Street, Essex, Mass.
Hours of Operation:
June to October. All group tours must be scheduled by appointment. In addition to open days, group tours may be scheduled at times the museum is closed to the public.
We are happy to work with you to customize your experience.
Guided House Tour: Enjoy an approximately one-hour guided tour; please allow one and a half hours for your visit.
Coastal Farming Walking Tour: This half-mile walking tour explores the 165-acre working farm at Cogswell’s Grant, continuously operated since 1636. The tour features the history of the families who lived here from the seventeenth through present day, examines the historic buildings and barns, and gives an overview of coastal farming in New England.
Favorite Things, Hidden Treasures: This in-depth two-hour tour highlights the Little family’s favorite things throughout the house, including objects hidden in cupboards, cabinets, and drawers, and offers a rare opportunity to see treasures stored in the attic, which is not usually open to the public. This tour is limited to sixteen people.
Neat and Tidy: Learn about the 148 folk art boxes in the house, many of which are not usually on display. Often beautifully decorated or constructed for a very specific purpose, boxes offer insights into the lives of everyday people. Explore the traditional uses of boxes as well as decorative styles and motifs. This tour is limited to eight people.
Faces and Families: Take an in-depth look at the folk art portrait collection at Cogswell’s Grant and explore the many families and artists represented in the house. In the days before photography, portraits offered self-expression and family documentation, and itinerant artists of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries worked in a style whose charm still appeals today. This tour is limited to ten people.
Up to 8 visitors can tour the house with each guide; generally we can accommodate up to 40 visitors in the house in one hour. Accommodations can be made for larger groups.
Please note that the tour requires a considerable amount of standing and stair climbing. If members of your group need special assistance, please let the museum know in advance.
Guided House Tour: $20 per adult for groups of 8 or more visitors. Additional rates apply for all other tours. Prices subject to change.
Receptive tour operator rates available upon request.
Tour leader or class instructor and bus driver are welcome to a complimentary tour with the group.
A non-refundable deposit based on your maximum number is due upon booking. The outstanding balance must be paid when the group arrives on-site for the tour.
Please call two weeks in advance to confirm a guaranteed number of visitors.
Explore Essex, “America’s Antiques Capital,” with over twenty-five shops within a mile of each other focusing on antiques. Essex also boasts more restaurants and food establishments per capita than any other town in New England. Other local attractions include the Essex Shipbuilding Museum and Essex River Cruises.
Visit other Historic New England properties nearby. Package discounts available.
Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann House, Gloucester – The summer home of one of America’s first professional interior designers, Henry Davis Sleeper. Perched on a rock ledge overlooking Gloucester Harbor, Beauport became Sleeper’s retreat, backdrop for entertaining, professional showcase, and an inspiration to all who visited.
Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm, Newbury – A 230-acre site including a late seventeenth-century manor house that served as the country seat of wealthy Newburyport merchants and an attached farmhouse that was home to a Lithuanian farm family for most of the twentieth century. The site also fosters farm animals in partnership with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Two restrooms located on the grounds
Museum shop offering an assortment of books and souvenirs
Explore the 165-acre working farm with beautiful views of the salt marshes and the Essex River.
Plenty of on-site parking for both cars and buses
Food and drink are prohibited in the museum.
Touching, leaning, or sitting on the objects is prohibited.
Cell phones should be silenced prior to your tour.
Your group will stay with the tour guide for the entire tour.