iscover the fancy chairs, portraits, mementos, dressers, books and other cherished family possessions that adorned the house during six generations of one family. Room by room, you will travel to different time periods of occupancy.
When the house became a museum in 1932, the building was nearly empty with the exception of the mummified caribou antlers in the front hall. Reportedly, the first owner Archibald Macpheadris received the antlers from Native Americans possibly in either a business transaction or peace offering. Over time, the museum acquired more period-appropriate furnishings and family treasures returned to the house including the five Joseph Blackburn paintings of the extended Warner family painted in 1761, the year after Jonathan Warner married Mary Macpheadris Osborne. The sixth painting that of Jonathan Warner's likeness was sold to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 1883, and the Warner House has retained a copy for display.
One of the most cherished possessions is the Blackburn portrait of Mary "Polly" Warner (1749 - c.1770), young daughter of Jonathan Warner and his first wife Mary Nelson. Included in the Warner House collection are personal objects related to young Polly Warner such as a child's desk, a christening gown, and her vast library of books that a young lady of privilege ought to have in 1765. Sent from London and bound in America, the volumes include "Miss Warner" in gold lettering on each cover. The 155 volumes are housed in the library bookcase that was built specifically for one wall in the Setting Room. The bookcase has been attributed to Portsmouth cabinetmaker Robert Harrold as has the period tea table and kettle stand.
The Sherburne high chest is perhaps one of the most important examples of Portsmouth-made furniture, inscribed in a veneered heart is 1733, the earliest known dated example of American Queen Anne furniture.
The furnishing plan comes from photographs, probate inventories and archaeological excavations conducted in the back yard. Many shards found have been matched with whole pieces to represent what the families would have owned.
Even today, descendants donate family objects back to the Warner House such as dragon candlesticks and a mid-19th high chest. These heirlooms help tell the story of the families, enriching the museum and creating a truly unique experience in Portsmouth.