Monday, June 20, 2016

'What the Heck Is That Thing?' is New Theme in 2016-17 for Guided Tours of Cape May's 1879 Physick Estate

'What the Heck Is That Thing?' is New Theme in 2016-17 for Guided Tours of Cape May's 1879 Physick Estate

The Victorians used tools in the home that would bewilder the 21st century householder. Such gizmos as button hooks and magic lanterns had a specific use for Victorians, but today are obsolete.

Shown here, a magic lantern, one of the Victorian era gadgets visitors will see and hear about during guided tours of the 1879 Physick Estate house museum in Cape May, NJ offered daily, March-December. Magic Lanterns were the precursors to 20th century slide projectors and were used for entertainment and education.

Learn about curious gadgets like these, how they worked, and why they were as essential to Victorians as smart phones are today, during guided tours beginning April 29 through April 2017, of the Emlen Physick Estate.

The Emlen Physick Estate is an 18-room mansion built in 1879, attributed to renowned architect Frank Furness. The Physick Estate is one of the finest examples of Victorian "Stick Style" architecture in America. Visitors will learn about Victorian life and the fascinating history of the estate and its former inhabitants. The Physick Estate was built for a rather unusual household: Dr. Emlen Physick, who never married; his widowed mother, Mrs. Ralston; and his maiden aunt Emilie. Dr. Physick was descended from a famous and wealthy Philadelphia medical family. His grandfather, Dr. Philip Syng Physick, was known as the Father of American Surgery and invented the stomach pump.

This new house tour theme will be offered through April 2017 (except during the Halloween and Christmas holiday seasons). Guided tours are offered daily through the end of the year; hours vary. Admission is $12 for adults and $8 for children (ages 3-12). Tours can also be combined with trolley tours of Cape May's Historic District, for $22 for adults and $14 for children (ages 3-12). Also available are Physick Estate Children's Tours, especially geared to children ages 5-10, on Mondays July 4 through Aug. 29 at 11:45 a.m.; admission is $8 per person. The Physick Estate is located at 1048 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ.

The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) is a multifaceted not-for-profit organization committed to promoting the preservation, interpretation, and cultural enrichment of the Cape May region for its residents and visitors. MAC membership is open to all. For information about MAC's year-round schedule of tours, festivals, and special events, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278, or visit For information about restaurants, accommodations and shopping, call the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cape May at 609-884-5508. For information about historic accommodations, contact Cape May Historic Accommodations at

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