The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms
The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms boasts over 30 acres of country estate and rural artifacts central to life in early 20th-century Morris County. Built as a simple log house in 1911, famed designer Gustav Stickley created his home as a farm and school that would eventually become one of the most significant landmarks in the early American Arts and Crafts movement. Although the school and clubhouse only lasted for four years and stood as a private residence throughout the 20th-century, it has retained much of its original furnishings and other remnants showcasing the vividness and ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement. From textiles and pottery to hundreds of archival documents and photos, the Stickley Museum at Craftsman invites visitors to experience Arts and Crafts living, and because of the gravel walking paths surrounding the Log House museum and tables situated under the shade of tall trees, Stickley Museum also stands as the ideal place for a picnic.
Backstory and Context
Born in 1858 in Wisconsin, Gustav Stickley spent his earlier learning stonemasonry from his father and working on their family’s small farm. By 1876, the Stickley family moved to Pennsylvania, where Gustav first started working with furniture at his uncle’s workshop.
This entry into furniture eventually led Gustav to join the well-established, international Arts and Crafts movement in the 1890s. Soon after, Stickley became one of the movement’s major American figures, and his Craftsman magazine became known as the leading advocate for the ideals of the movement.
Stickley’s furniture featured plain, unadorned and reticent designs, most of which were defined by simple and sturdy construction with decorative effect depending on an honestly revealed structure.1
Originally, Stickley’s idea for property in Morris County was a club house for workers, guests, and students, and it would be self-sufficient with vegetables, dairy, meat, and other produce. He built the Log House and Craftsman Farms in 1911, and from 1911 to 1915 (when he filed for bankruptcy), the Log House stood as one of the most important places in the American Arts and Crafts movement.
From 1917 and onward, Major George and Sylvia Wurlitzer Farny owned the property, and it survived both time and development threats. Nowadays, Craftsman Farms features 30-acres of meadows, wooded areas, walking trails, and a pond and stream. The buildings on the property include several support buildings, three cottages, a calf barn, the ruins of a dairy barn, and the original Log House, completely restored to its 1910-1917 appearance.2
The Log House Collection
In addition to exploring the grounds as well as the Log House, cultural and heritage museum-goers can explore the site’s growing collection of Stickley furnishings, most of which are original to the Log House.
These furnishings include pottery, textiles, and metalwork, though some of the most important pieces are the iconic works of furniture. The North Cottage, an original bungalow, features touchable Arts and Crafts furnishings, and visitors can sit in original chairs to slightly experience the Arts and Crafts ideals of the time.3