Photo by Deborah Allard, Fall River Herald News
It’s been over a month since the Facebook page “Lizzie Borden’s Maplecroft” has revealed an update of the renovation progress or information on planned opening date for tours.
It is still most likely the residence where Lizzie lived the entire second half of her life will NOT be operated as a Bed & Breakfast as first indicated by Kristee Bates.
While curators Rebello and Pavao have been on the hunt for furniture, fixtures and artifacts associated with the home during the period Lizzie lived there (1893-1927), they have yet to discover and acquire items with the “Wow” factor, such as the bed in which Lizzie died.
Unlike 92 Second Street, the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum, where the murders of Andrew and Abby Borden took place on August 4, 1892, there is not one fixed date of historical significance at 306 French Street. Lizzie lived there for 35 years but only 12 with her sister, Emma (1893-1905). So will the furnishings depict that period or post Emma? Will it depict furnishings and artifacts of the elderly Lizzie? Styles in home decor differed greatly from the mid and late 1890’s as cultural shifts in society changed from the Edwardian era to World War I to the Jazz Age. Definitely a curating – let alone a seek and obtain – challenge.
One of the basic tenants of marketing an event is to build excitement. If the event is to draw attention and excitement about a future tourist attraction, titillating “teasers” are essential. No doubt whenever the opening, there will be significant local interest. Local media reporting will feed into the regional news, but with ongoing good marketing appeal would extend to national and international interest. And our treasured Lizzie Borden and her story is not landlocked within our own shores.
Early on in Ms. Bates renovation endeavors she sent me nearly a dozen short videos of her sweat equity. From the “steeple” room where she plans (planned?) to have “tarot card readings”, to the 3rd floor (attic, i.e., servant’s quarters), to kitchen, to basement, to enclosed porch “where I’ll serve tea and crumpets” these videos show exactly what was being done and explained by Kristee herself. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE THESE VIDEOS, EMAIL ME AND I’LL SEND THEM TO YOU.
There are those who do not think “Maplecroft” will open to the public at all. Perhaps it will be a seasonal thing and for tours only. Whatever the use it should be marketed effectively. The Lizzie Borden B&B Museum is self-marketing – Maplecroft is not.