Otis House

Entertaining and Family Time

The furniture and objects in this room reflect the many different kinds of activities that went on here.  After dinner, gentlemen often played games like backgammon or cards. The musical instruments would have been played by both family members and their guests, or by hired musicians, and the furniture could be pushed back to make room for dancing.  In the winter especially, the family probably spent most of their time in this room, as it was easier to heat one room and use it for many activities than to heat several rooms.  Mrs. Otis would have done her sewing and needlework here, using equipment like the sewing box and work table in the corner.

There is a ladies’ writing desk on the front wall of the room for writing letters, and a comfortable chair by the fire for reading.  Mrs. Otis would also use this room for small tea parties and for receiving visitors.  Tables could be set up and used for family meals.  So although this room was one of the fanciest entertaining rooms in the house, it doubled as a less formal “living room” as well.