Following the release of Greta Gerwig’s period drama, fans are flocking to Little Women’s Orchard House in Massachusetts to get a taste of the March family lifestyle. By Bayar Jain
As historical period drama Little Women – based on the 1868 novel of the same name – graces the silver screen, lovers of the movie are frolicking to Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts to find out more about the family that inspired the film. The Orchard House, the March family’s home in the book, is an actual heritage monument in the New England countryside.
Louisa May Alcott, the author of the novel, once lived in the 12-acre manor where she set and finished her seminal novel, basing it off her own family life. Almost 80 per cent of the furnishings in this house continue to sparkle in their original spots despite radiating in a rustic charm reminiscent of the movie itself. Visitors wishing to soak in this glory can opt for a guided tour at this heritage monument wherein they will get a glimpse of the family members, household items, and their achievements.
The very spot where this classic novel came to life – Louisa May Alcott’s tiny writing desk – finds a spot in this house. Apart from that, attractions like her sister Abigail May’s paintings (the inspiration for Amy March’s character in the novel); and Anna Alcott Pratt’s wedding gown (the inspiration for Margaret or Meg) are also laid in an upstairs bedroom. Instances of the family’s struggles with poverty followed by Josephine “Jo” March’s success in overcoming this, in turn leading to the family’s relatively comfortable lifestyle, are also visible here. An expensive soapstone sink is also up for display in the kitchen; a gift given by Alcott to her mother after cashing in her book royalties.
Currently, the guided tour accommodates 50 people at a time. However, factoring in the rise of tourists visiting the space following the release of Greta Gerwig’s movie, new tour guides have been hired and trained as well. Instead of assigning one guide to a group – a norm which was practiced earlier – a guide will now be placed in each room of the house. Numerous copies of Little Women have also been brought in, which include updated photographs from the 2019 movie. Moreover, to further increase footfall and tourist engagement, the museum is also organising experiences such as suffragette-awareness events.