Statement of Significance (as of designation - September 25, 1997):
This much-restored house, imbued with symbolism and sanctified by antiquity, represents important stages in America's attitude toward historic preservation, from an approach based largely on appearance and aesthetics to a more academic orientation. Said to date from ca. 1639-1640, the house was remodeled in 1868, and restored in 1902-04, and again in the 1930s. It was first opened to the public in 1899 as one of the first state-owned historical museums in New England.