The Victorian parlor is located on the first floor of Van Kirk Homestead Museum.
The Victorian Era (1837-1902) was a time when etiquette and morals were quite different from today. For instance, a young man interested in a young lady would ask if he could visit and, if approved, would be escorted into the parlor, sit a modest distance from her, and converse politely, with a chaperone present.
The parlor, the best-appointed room in the house, was reserved for guests and special occasions. Everything in the room was meant to reveal the family’s taste and social position, including the ever-present Bible. Furniture was made for looks rather than comfort. Entertainment in the parlor included word games, charades, and music recitals.
Contrary to the heavy damasked walls and ornate furniture parlors of the upper class, these fine examples of the simpler “country work designed” Eastlake style furniture are original to the Van Kirk Homestead and this parlor. Hand painted photos of Worden and Emma Van Kirk, who lived in the house during this time period, accompany their own circa 1880 Eastlake parlor furniture