The Campbell House is reopening on Wednesday, October 7, 2009 after a nine-month closure. This historic house museum, beloved by the public since 1926, is the largest artifact and most permanent exhibit at the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture (MAC). Although state budget cuts precipitated the closure last January, the MAC board and staff have since expanded the volunteer corps and retained the education staff needed to coordinate its re-opening. The guided tour format is refreshed; public tours will be available at the MAC Admissions Desk; and school tours can be scheduled by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. The house will be decorated for the holidays November 27, 2009 through January 2, 2010. During the months that this restored historic house was closed to the pubic, collection care and building restoration have continued; the exterior carriage house chimney and foundation restoration is nearly complete.
The Campbell House is an English Tudor Revival style dwelling, designed by renowned Spokane architect Kirtland K. Cutter. Located in Browne’s Addition, the Campbell House is adjacent to the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture (MAC) and is the museum’s largest artifact.
Cutter provided the Campbells with a handsome exterior of stucco, sandstone, brick and heavy timbers. The large main house, an offset service wing, and adjacent carriage house were carefully designed to suit their particular functions. The restored interior and objects in the house assist docents telling the story of “Changing Times” during guided public tours, which begin in the Carriage House where a horse drawn carriage and an electric automobile symbolize the theme. Guided tours bring the Campbell family, friends, and household employees to life.
The first floor, on two levels, provides a sense of drama. To the right of the dark wood-paneled entry hall is a light, gilded French reception room where Grace Campbell received her visitors. To the left, the library’s dark wooden beams and inglenook fireplace provided a cozy atmosphere for informal evenings at home. Four steps lead to a large dining room with a fireplace surrounded by blue and white Dutch tiles. A deep veranda around the back of the house affords a view of the Spokane River below. Other features include a masculine “den,” or game room, well-planned service areas, and four upstairs bedrooms. Visitors are invited to admire the architecture, decorative interior, and imagine the lives of the Campbell family and other individuals as part of the history of the house.
Following Grace Campbell’s death in 1924, Helen Campbell (then Mrs. W.W. Powell) gave the house to the Eastern Washington State Historical Society in memory of her mother. Campbell House became a community museum, with historical and art exhibits. After a new museum building opened in 1960 on the Campbell House east lawn, the house began a return to its former “Age of Elegance.” From 1984-2001 a formal restoration project impacted all elements of the Campbell House complex: structures, landscape, interior design, technological systems, and furnishings. Today Campbell House operates as a house museum interpreting life at the turn of the 20th century. This October, the MAC staff and volunteers look forward to reopening the doors to the public.
The MAC is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (First Fridays open until 8 p.m.). Several guided tours are available between 11 am and 3 pm; Campbell House tours are included with Museum admission. Visit www.northwestmuseum.org for additional information.