Monday, March 10, 2014

From cradle to... cradle?

The following cradles were photographed at the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont. 

A chlld's cradle by the fireplace of the "Settler's House", a typical scene you
might have seen re-created at museums and historical home across colonial America.

What is this?  It's a huge, coffin sized cradle by the kitchen fireplace at the
"Dutton House" historic home.  This adult sized bed was a place to care for
elderly members of the family while the women cooked and worked.
This would be the final resting place for beloved grandparents, by the family hearth.

Instead of a hospital bed or hospice, imagine spending your last
months or weeks of life being rocked gently in this adult sized cradle?

I have seen these cradles here at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont, and also at
 the Sturbridge Village living history museum in Massachusetts.  
There is also one at the Coffin House in Newbury, Massachusetts.
These once common items are now curiosities from a time before nursing homes existed. 

The Shelburne Museum website 

The URL for this post is 

Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. Heather, I had never heard of these! Thank you so much for posting this.

  2. Heather,
    Having a 90 year old mother who is in assisted living and recently was hospitalized, I looked long at these pictures. Imagining if she had to be in our home in one of those. I've never seen these before. Thanks for sharing.