Ruthmere Museum

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The Ruthmere Museum in Elkhart, Indiana, is one of the finest examples of the Beaux Arts-style of residential architecture in the nation. Built by Elizabeth and Albert Beardsley (founder of Miles Laboratories), the Ruthmere is named after their only child, Ruth, who died in infancy.

It served as a major center for business, family, political, and social gatherings until the deaths of Elizabeth and Albert in 1924. The museum has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Designed by architect E. Hill Turnock, the Ruthmere is a three-story structure, with all the luxuries of an upper-class home during the Gilded Age. Brick pillars elegantly decorated with carved limestone capitals support the covered entrance.

Carved stone quoins, capitals, and cartouches add to the building's charm. Also worth mentioning are a porte cochere that shelters visitors as they get in and out of vehicles, and a marble piazza across the south facade.

An underground tunnel graced with wall murals of the Italian lake country leads to the greenhouse, which has more than 150 plants, including orchids.

The museum's interior is remarkable for its Louis XV-style furnishings, Beardsley family memorabilia, elaborate satin, velvet, and lace window treatments, silk and velvet upholstered wall, gilded woodwork, and stenciled, hand-painted ceilings.

The museumís fine art collection includes sculptures by Auguste Rodin, Charles Russell, Antoine-Louis Barye, and William Ordway Partridge.

The painting section displays artworks by such renowned artists as George Peter Alexander Healy, Charles Yardley Turner, William Morris Hunt, Henrik August Ankarcrona, and Albert E. Sterner. There also is an array of such mechanical devices as a central vacuum system, service call buzzers, and a player piano/pipe organ in the collection.

Located in the chauffeur's quarters in the original garage, the turn-of-the-century Robert B. Beardsley Arts Reference Library contains about 1,800 volumes and 15 periodicals on American domestic architecture, landscape architecture, and decorative arts of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Prior permission is required to enter the library.

The museum also organizes numerous programs and events throughout the year.

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