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Leisure Pursuits - The Fashion and Culture of Recreation


  • Fruitlands Museum 102 Prospect Hill Road Harvard, MA, 01451 United States (map)

Since 1891, The Trustees has cared for properties of “exceptional scenic, historical, and ecological” value in Massachusetts. Today, Trustees protects 27,000 acres spread across 116 reservations, including 15 historic houses, 350 miles of trails, and 70 miles of protected coastline.

Within this backdrop, the stage is set: The turn of the twentieth century saw a rapid evolution in how people engaged in recreational pursuits and interacted with the outdoors.

Easier access to open spaces, more affordable sporting fashion, and an American culture that embraced fitness and sports brought leisure pursuits to the masses. From exquisite Parisian couture to fishing waders to breezy linen dresses, the way people dressed and the accessories they surrounded themselves with enabled and enhanced their ability to relax. Using collections from five Trustees historic houses as a guide, the leisure pursuits of gardening, exercising, equestrian sports, water activities, and entertaining are considered through fashion, large-scale vintage photographs, and other objects.