Molly Brown House: A Hidden Treasure In Denver

Posted By Brie Austin In Category: Reviews , Travel

You may not know the name Margaret Brown, but how about the Unsinkable Molly Brown?  Yes, I thought so. Nonetheless, there is so much you can learn at the Molly Brown House Museum in Denver, Colorado that it might just surprise you.

Within the walls of this turn-of-the-century Victorian mansion — that she shared with husband JJ Brown, a goldmine mogul that struck it rich during the 1890s –, the past comes alive before your eyes through stories and anecdotes about people, traditions, and rituals.

I’ve never been interested in Molly Brown per se (I only knew about her as a survivor of the Titanic as depicted by Kathy Bates in the 1997 film). Yet during my tour, I found her exploits, courage, and the enormity of her humanity fascinating.

She was a woman ahead of her time. She created a juvenile court system, promoted cultural diversity, and became a patron of the arts.  She was also an activist, battling head-on with J.J. Rockefeller over miners rights [even though mining is where her wealth was derived], joined with the women’s suffrage leaders, and ran for the U.S. Senate six years before women were even allowed to vote.

The

Molly Brown House

Museum preserves this and other history, including detailed and personal accounts of the Titanic voyage.  It was opened in 1970 by a group of citizens that saved it from possible demolition. Those citizens then then formed the local non-profit Historic Denver Inc. which had owned and operated the House ever since.

As “Heroine of the Titanic,” Molly became Iconic for the courage she displayed during the Titanic crisis, but also for her tireless efforts on behalf of the survivors afterwards — many of whom lost everything: loved ones and possessions alike.

In commemoration of the 100th year anniversary of the Titanic’s voyage in 2012, the Molly Brown House Museum has installed new Titanic exhibits, including photos, artifacts, and video presentations.

It is also hosting many Titanic-themed events and re-creations throughout the year. For example, you can participate in a first-class passenger dinner gala, or a third-class passenger dinner with a rollicking band. Guests are immersed in a 1912 experience of what it might have been like aboard the famed-cruise line that redefined elegance and technology in its time.

Like Molly, the 7,500 square foot home is bigger-than-life, yet cozy and inviting. As we walked through it my personal guide Andrea explained detailed and interesting facts about the rituals of high society and the traditions and customs of the day.

“When someone would stop by for a social call, if Mrs. Brown was not in, or not accepting callers that day, then they would leave their card in this basket so that she knew who had stopped by.  And when she did entertain an afternoon caller, often it was a short visit, usually 15-20 minutes. They’d talk about the gossip of the day, and update each other on what they were engaged in currently. The guest would then move on — usually en route to another social call.”

Throughout the tour, little tidbits of information like this were provided to help one envision what life in high society was like in the early 20th Century.

And after the tour, there is so much to choose from in the well-appointed gift shop that was renovated from the old carriage house out back.

Margaret “Molly“ Brown might have become famous as “Unsinkable” for her courage and survival of the Titanic, but — as you will come to learn — it was her purity of heart and strength of spirit that makes her unforgettable.

The Molly Brown House Museum
1340 Pennsylvania Street
Denver Colorado
Hours: Tues – Saturday 10:am – 4:30 pm
Adult $8
Senior $6
Kid (6-12) $4

For more information and events schedule, visit their website at http://www.mollybrown.org/

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About Brie Austin

Co-author of I'd Do It Again, he is a columnist/reporter for a variety of magazines in the areas of music, lifestyle, nightlife, travel and business. He also writes business documents and creates copy for websites.

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