Cogswell's Grant

60 Spring St
Essex MA  01929

Phone: (978) 768-3632

Cogswell's Grant

Cogswell's Grant was the summer home of Bertram K. and Nina Fletcher Little, preeminent collectors of American folk art in the mid 20th century. In 1937, the Littles purchased this 18th-century farmhouse overlooking the Essex River as a family retreat and place to entertain. They restored it carefully, preserving original 18th-century finishes and carefully documenting their work. In more than 50 years of collecting, they sought works of strong, even quirky character, and in particular favored objects with their original finishes and New England histories.

The Littles decorated the house for visual delight rather than historic accuracy. The result is rich in atmosphere and crowded with collections of things -- primitive paintings, redware, painted furniture, stacked Shaker boxes, weather vanes and decoys -- that have since come to define the country look.

Cogswell's Grant is a property of Historic New England, the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive regional preservation organization in the country. It operates thirty-six historic sites, offering unique opportunities to experience the lives and stories of New Englanders through their homes and possessions.

Open for tours, June 1 - October 15, Wed.-Sun. 11 am - 4 pm

Grounds open year-round, dawn till dusk, dogs are welcome.

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Business Information


Parking: Parking Lot

Categories: Historical Place, Landmark, Museum




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Past Events

Kite Day at Cogswell's Grant

Kite Day at Cogswell's Grant
11:00 am - 04/14/2018

At Cogswell's Grant

Come fly a kite at Cogswell's Grant! Bring your own kite or build one of your own, and watch professional kite flyers from Kites Over New England. Archie Stewart...

Weeding Wednesdays, October 25

Weeding Wednesdays, October 25
10:00 am - 10/25/2017

At Cogswell's Grant

Volunteer alongside Historic New England’s staff experts and members to care for and learn about historic gardens and landscapes. Work includes seasonally appropriate...

Plein Air Workshop

Plein Air Workshop
10:00 am - 10/12/2017

At Cogswell's Grant

Join artist Marianne Thompson for a plein air painting workshop at Cogswell's Grant. Beautiful vistas, including the Essex River and Great Marsh, farm fields and...

Cape Ann Plein Air Painting Demonstration

Cape Ann Plein Air Painting Demonstration
12:00 pm - 10/10/2017

At Cogswell's Grant

Join us for a plein air painting demonstration at Cogswell's Grant with award-winning Cape Ann artist David P. Curtis. Curtis is an artist member and past member...

Favorite Things, Hidden Treasures

Favorite Things, Hidden Treasures
10:00 am - 10/09/2017

At Cogswell's Grant

Join us for an in-depth tour highlighting the favorite objects of American folk art collectors Bertram and Nina Fletcher Little, including objects hidden in the...

Weeding Wednesday, September 27

Weeding Wednesday, September 27
10:00 am - 09/27/2017

At Cogswell's Grant

Volunteer alongside Historic New England’s staff experts and members to care for and learn about historic gardens and landscapes. Work includes seasonally appropriate...

Plein Air Workshop

Plein Air Workshop
10:00 am - 09/24/2017

At Cogswell's Grant

Join artist Marianne Thompson for a plein air painting workshop at Cogswell's Grant. Beautiful vistas, including the Essex River and Great Marsh, farm fields and...

Smithsonian Museum Day Live!

Smithsonian Museum Day Live!
11:00 am - 09/23/2017

At Cogswell's Grant

Free admission to Cogswell's Grant with a downloadable ticket as part of the 13th annual Smithsonian Museum Day Live! initiative on Saturday, September 23. Visitors...

Herrmann's Royal Lipizzan Stallions

Herrmann's Royal Lipizzan Stallions
05:00 pm - 09/15/2017

At Cogswell's Grant

Herrmanns' Royal Lipizzan Stallions will be performing three shows at Cogswell's Grant this year: Friday, Sept. 15 at 5:00pm, Saturday, Sept. 16 at 2:00pm, and Sunday,...

Coastal Farming Walking Tour

Coastal Farming Walking Tour
11:00 am - 09/09/2017

At Cogswell's Grant

On this special walking tour, explore the history of Cogswell's Grant as a working farm from the seventeenth century to the present. Walk through fields and down...

Faces and Families: Folk Art Portraits at Cogswell's Grant

Faces and Families: Folk Art Portraits at Cogswell's Grant
10:00 am - 08/26/2017

At Cogswell's Grant

Join Site Manager Kristen Weiss for an in-depth look at the collection of folk art portraits at Cogswell’s Grant. Discover the many families and artists represented...

Weeding Wednesdays, August 23

Weeding Wednesdays, August 23
10:00 am - 08/23/2017

At Cogswell's Grant

Volunteer alongside Historic New England’s staff experts and members to care for and learn about historic gardens and landscapes. Work includes seasonally appropriate...

Weeding Wednesdays, July 26

Weeding Wednesdays, July 26
10:00 am - 07/26/2017

At Cogswell's Grant

Call for volunteers! Volunteer alongside Historic New England's staff experts and members to care for and learn about historic gardens and landscapes. Work includes...

Colorful Origins: Historic New England's Period Paint Pioneers

Colorful Origins: Historic New England's Period Paint Pioneers
10:00 am - 07/22/2017

At Cogswell's Grant

Join paint color expert Sally Zimmerman, senior preservation services manager at Historic New England, for an in-depth paint tour of two North Shore properties. Cogswell's...

Weeding Wednesdays, June 28

Weeding Wednesdays, June 28
10:00 am - 06/28/2017

At Cogswell's Grant

Call for volunteers! Volunteer alongside Historic New England's staff experts and members to care for and learn about historic gardens and landscapes. Work includes...

Coastal Farming Walking Tour

Coastal Farming Walking Tour
11:00 am - 06/17/2017

At Cogswell's Grant

On this special walking tour, explore the history of Cogswell's Grant as a working farm from the seventeenth century to the present. Walk through fields and down...

Artists' Plein Air Day

Artists' Plein Air Day
10:00 am - 05/20/2017

At Cogswell's Grant

Artists and painters are invited to Cogswell's Grant for a day of plein-air painting. Join your fellow artists from all over the North Shore to paint beautiful...

Introduction to Birding at Cogswell's Grant

Introduction to Birding at Cogswell's Grant
08:30 am - 05/15/2017

At Cogswell's Grant

With 165 acres of grasslands, salt marshes, and woodlands, Cogswell’s Grant is a treasure trove for birders. Join Dr. David Weaver, naturalist at Mass Audubon’s...

Kite Day at Cogswell's Grant

Kite Day at Cogswell's Grant
11:00 am - 04/22/2017

At Cogswell's Grant

Come fly a kite at Cogswell's Grant! Bring your own kite or build one with us, and watch professional kite flyers from Kites Over New England. Archie Stewart of...

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