Our History

William Skinner Family

Back: Libbie, Sarah, Will, Eleanor. Front: Belle, Nancy, William, Katharine, Joe

Wistariahurst Museum, originally the home of prominent silk manufacturer, William Skinner and his family, has stood as an example of elegance and fine architecture since 1874. The buildings and grounds were owned continually by the Skinner family until 1959, when Katharine Skinner Kilborne, the youngest child of William and Sarah Skinner, and her heirs gave Wistariahurst to the City of Holyoke for cultural and educational purposes.

Today, Wistariahurst Museum reflects the lives and tastes of both generations of the Skinner family. The museum features original leather wall coverings, columns, elaborate woodwork and an interesting tale of how two generations perceived and used the house very differently. The museum’s permanent collection includes decorative arts; paintings and prints, textiles and a rich manuscript collection of family and local papers. Wistariahurst Museum offers a wide variety of programs and events including: workshops, concerts, lectures and demonstrations. The museum is also available for private rental and group tours.