‘Downton Abbey’ sets, costumes coming to Boston
Calling all fans of buttoned-up, post-Edwardian fare: “Downton Abbey: The Exhibition” is coming to Boston this summer.
Described as a “fully immersive experience” by “Downton” executive producer Gareth Neame, the exhibition at the Castle at Park Plaza will allow attendees to roam exact recreations of sets like the Crawleys’ lavish dining room, Mrs. Patmore’s bustling kitchen, and Carson’s office, walking from room to room as if transported back through time to the titular estate itself. The exhibition runs from June 15 to Sept. 29.
“First and foremost, it’s a massive treat for any die-hard fans,” says Neame, speaking by phone. “And for occasional viewers who want to understand more of the ‘Downton Abbey’ phenomenon, it’s a fantastic introduction.”
Visitors to the exhibition — which has made stops in New York City and West Palm Beach, Fla. — will be able to inspect more than 50 of the series’ most iconic costumes, including ball gowns and wedding dresses, as well as assorted historical artifacts. Video footage will reference major plotlines from the series, which wrapped up in 2016 after six seasons.
“It reminds you how many characters and how much story there was,” says Neame. “We tracked the years from 1912 [all] the way through to the early 1920s and followed what was going on in history at that time.”
Bringing the exhibition to Boston has long been in the cards, he adds.
“Boston, in a way, feels like the spiritual home for ‘Downton Abbey’ in the US,” says Neame, noting that Boston-based PBS station WGBH brought the series stateside through its long-running “Masterpiece” production. That link aside, the executive producer says Boston’s rich sense of history has long felt of a piece with the show’s period setting.
“I’ve always thought of New England as that most closely connected part of the US to the UK,” he says. “In Britain, we live with [history] and alongside it, all the time. Many people live in old houses, near castles, abbeys, and churches. But similarly, there’s a lot of antiquity in New England.”
The exhibition kicks off a banner year for “Downton” devotees, who also have a feature film continuation of the series to look forward to. The movie’s due to hit US theaters Sept. 20, reuniting cast members Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Joanne Froggatt, and Maggie Smith while adding newcomers Imelda Staunton, Geraldine James, Tuppence Middleton, and Simon Jones.
Tickets to “Downton Abbey: The Exhibition” are on sale at www.downtonexhibition.com.
DOWNTON ABBEY: THE EXHIBITION
At the Castle at Park Plaza, 130 Columbus Ave, Boston, June 15-Sept. 29. Tickets $35 (free for children under 14 with adult supervision), www.downtonexhibition.com