Homestead, Olson House open May 24

May 18, 2014
Photo by: Kelsey Floyd A wonderfully restored oil cloth is among the homey treasures of the Farnsworth Homestead.

Rockland — Beginning on Saturday, May 24, the Farnsworth’s two historic properties — the Farnsworth Homestead on the museum’s campus and the Olson House in Cushing — will reopen to the public for the 2014 season.

The Olson House will be open Wednesdays through Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. through June; and, beginning in July, Tuesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with tours on the hour. The Homestead will be open Thursdays through Sundays with three tours daily, at noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. The Homestead tours are limited to 10 persons per tour; those who wish to visit the Homestead must make same-day reservations in person at the Museum Street lobby desk.

The Olson House was recognized as a National Historic Landmark on July 5, 2011. Originally built in the late 1700s, the house is the subject of more than 300 of Andrew Wyeth’s paintings including his iconic “Christina’s World,” which hangs at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

“I just couldn't stay away from there. I did other pictures but I'd always seem to gravitate back to the house. ... It was Maine,” he said of of the homestead he painted for more than three decades.

The Farnsworth Homestead underwent the first phase of major restoration and re-installation over a three-year period, finally opening to the public in 2013. One of the many exciting discoveries made during this first phase was that beneath an 1870s carpet in the entry hall is an original 1850s oilcloth. These oilcloths were a relatively expensive floor covering, made by printing each oil-based color of the design with separate woodblocks. During the restoration, the badly yellowed original varnish layer was removed revealing the oilcloth’s original brilliant colors.

Tickets to the Olson House may be purchased at the museum or at the historic site itself, and combination tickets for the museum and the Olson House are available. All visitors to the Homestead will be provided a pair of shoe covers; no high heels or bare feet are permitted on the tours (please wear comfortable shoes).

There is limited wheelchair accessibility, by reservation only, to both sites; make reservations in advance by contacting Jane Bianco at 596-6457, ext. 104, or by email at For more information regarding the Farnsworth Historic Properties, visit

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or

Comments (2)
Posted by: Kendall Merriam | May 20, 2014 14:39

Amen to Janice Kasper! She was our wonderful supervisor/mentor when my wife and I were docents at the Olson House. Janice is a treasure.

Posted by: Craig Wilson | May 18, 2014 21:30

I wish Janice Kasper was still there to give the tour. She is a wealth of history, information and grace.

If you wish to comment, please login.