The Daneway House is a George III style Baby House built in England around1775. It was acquired by Museum Founder Pat Arnell in 1988. The term "Baby House" refers to a practice of the wealthy of 17th and 18th century Europe to collect miniatures and display them to show off rather than be an object of play. The original façade of the Daneway House was lost at some time during its long history and replaced by a new façade, the design of which was based on historical research into the period architecture. This new façade would have been attached with hinges to both sides of the cabinet front, opening as two doors that join in the center. For our exhibit purposes, the façade is on display in a glass cabinet on the wall to the right. The Daneway House had another dividing wall on the bottom shelf, which would have created a staircase or hallway, but this architectural detail was lost at some point in its long history.
Our conservationist, Casey Rice, had a grueling task ahead of her when restoring the Daneway House. She endured countless hours of noxious fumes and tiresome scrubbing to reveal the lustrous mahogany varnish you see today, which had been smothered under eight coats of dreadful paint – when it was acquired, the Daneway was actually a bright bubblegum pink! According to lore, the nanny would tell the children to “Go paint the doll’s house,” as a means to keep them busy!
Other objects of note include the remnants of an imitation clockwork jack in the kitchen, as well as a complete set of leather-bound miniature copies of Shakespeare’s works, which can all be read with the assistance of a magnifying glass.