Mansion Outreach Programs


Historical educators bring the Gilded Age to life through costumed interpretation, including fashion shows and suffrage rally demonstrations, as well as in-depth explorations of the etiquette of dress, the social history of the era, and turn-of-the-20th-century Christmas traditions. Email us for details and scheduling.

Speaker and Powerpoint Presentations

Persistence: The Story of Women's Suffrage

Maymont Celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment
Time travel with a Richmond suffragist who relates the victories, setbacks and fascinating saga of women gaining the right to vote – a journey that spanned decades and forever changed the political landscape in America. Witness the controversy that surrounded voting equality at the turn-of-the-20th-century. Personal accounts and tie-ins to Maymont’s own Sallie Dooley bring this story to life and highlight the determination of the courageous women who declared, “failure is impossible.”

Celebrate a Gilded Age Christmas

Many of the traditions associated with our modern Christmas celebrations trace their roots to the 19th century. Lively commentary along with lavish images of the decorated Maymont Mansion’s interiors reveal the history behind beloved customs of trimming the tree, wrapping & exchanging gifts, sending greeting cards, and enjoying festive family gatherings. Discover how the many new inventions and advancements in areas such as printing, transportation and marketing at the turn-of-the-20th-century all helped to create the holiday we know and love today.

Etiquette of Dress

“Nowhere as in public places will a man and woman show their true breeding,” stated a 19th century etiquette guide, and how they were attired spoke volumes about that man or woman. When it came to dress, proper ladies and gentlemen knew and followed the rules of society, changing clothes multiple times during the day & evening to ensure they would be correct for each occasion. A walking suit for an afternoon reception? Never! A white tie and waistcoat before 6pm? Of course not. Discover the intricacies and details of a lady’s costume, her reliance on her lady’s maid and the dictates of a gentleman’s wardrobe as this beautifully illustrated talk journeys through a typical day in the life of an upper class Gilded Age family.

Gossip and Grandeur in the Gilded Age

Fans of the hit television series “Downton Abbey” can immerse themselves in the era during a presentation of turn-of-the 20th-century social history, who’s who and upstairs-downstairs life. Witness the family dramas, the challenges of working in a Gilded Age mansion, the scandals of American “royalty.” Discover the required rituals of polite society, the grand parties, the most fashionable ladies and the important tittle-tattle of the day in Richmond and beyond. Who is the most beautiful bride of 1895? What scandalous woman is divorcing? And what did the coachman overhear? All is revealed as guests are transported to the glorious Downton era.

Speaker and Costumed Interpreters

Suffrage Rally

As we are bombarded by political ads, it’s easy to take for granted one of the most important aspects of our democracy – the right to vote. But until 1920, American women were denied this right, prompting decades of tireless work on their part and a determination to change the political landscape for future generations. Witness the controversy that surrounded granting women the right to vote at the turn-of-the-20th-century as costumed historical interpreters from Maymont stage a Suffrage Rally at your event or site. The debate touched almost everyone of the era; at Maymont, Mrs. Dooley and her sisters-in-law found themselves on opposite sides of the issue – as must have been the case in many families and even among friends. Discover what the justifications were, why there was resistance and why even some women opposed the vote in this lively and informative presentation.

Gilded Age Fashion Show or Maymont Abbey Fashion Show

Maymont’s costumed interpreters visit your site to present a dynamic program of Downton Abbey-era fashion, gossip, and social history. Well-suited for large or small events and for audiences of all ages, this enriching program brings the Gilded Age to life. Nancy relates the lifestyles and fashion nuances of the times from a range of perspectives, highlighting the numerous costume changes and social obligations required for upper class ladies and gentlemen and for the staff on whom they relied. Calling gowns, corsets, elaborate hats, livery & frock coats are among the beautiful turn-of-the-20th-century fashions modeled by historical interpreters.