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New Exhibit Highlights Lives of Servants at Lockwood Mansion

NORWOLK, Connecticut — A new exhibit that opened at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in mid-October sheds light on the “invisible” workers who made the lavish household run, especially the Irish immigrants and African Americans.

“The Stairs Below: The Mansion’s Domestic Servants 1868-1938” follows the servants’ paths through the mansion, showing three distinct worlds — the public, family and staff lives — during the mansion’s seven decades as a private residence.

While the domestic servants worked long 10-hour shifts seven days a week, they did retire to comfortable quarters, which are open to the public for the first time. According to the New York Sun in 1869, the lodgings created by LeGrand Lockwood “equal the chambers of a first class hotel”

A National Historic Landmark, the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is one of the earliest Second Empire Style country houses in the United States. Built by financier and railroad baron Lockwood between 1864 and 1868, the mansion, with its Gilded Age interiors and furniture, illustrates the splendor of the Victorian Era.

The exhibit will continue through October 20, 2016.