Tour FAQs

Some Frequently Asked Questions about tours at Poplar Hill Mansion:

 

How long does a tour last?

We usually recommend visitors to plan for at least an hour. That said, we can cater a tour specifically for your group and time constraints. If you only have about 20 minutes, then we can do a tour in 20 minutes for you. Conversely, if you have more time and would like a longer tour, we can certainly do that for you too. Ultimately, the length of the tour is totally up to our guests.

 

What can I expect on a tour?

Staff will take guests on a guided tour through the rooms of the house and tell the story of the Huston family and the enslaved people who lived and worked at the Mansion. Staff will point out pieces of interest in each room, as well as architectural details of the Federal Period house. There is also a special emphasis on the story of how the house was Salisbury’s first hospital, surgery of the early 1800s, and the medical history of Salisbury. The second floor has a rotating exhibit space, which changes every year, and tells a specific history and story. The 2024 exhibit is about the History and influence of Sugar in the Early 1800s.

 

Do I have to take the guided tour?

No. Guests are more than welcome to come in the museum and just look around at their own pace. We only ask that if a door is closed to please not open it. Staff will still be on hand to answer questions that guests have as they explore the house.

 

What is the cost of a tour?

Tours are FREE. We do not charge for tours of Poplar Hill Mansion as we believe everyone should have access to our shared history without cost limitations. That said, PHM gladly accepts monetary donations. All donations we receive go directly back into restoration efforts and help maintain us as a museum. All donations are greatly appreciated.

 

I’ve already been to PHM, is there anything new?

Yes!!! We are constantly updating and adding to our exhibits. Dr. Huston’s Surgery Room has some exciting medical instruments we just put on display. We’ve restored a lot of the paint back to the Huston Period of the house and will be painting the Main Hallway this year. The rooms are more thematic as they would have been during the time period with one having an Asian motif and another have a French motif. The second floor has a rotating exhibit space, which changes every year, and tells a specific history and story. The 2024 exhibit is about the History and influence of Sugar in the Early 1800s. Christmas at the Mansion has a different decorating theme every year. We are also in the planning stages of adding a new exhibit space to our attic which will tell the story of the enslaved people. New programming is being developed with some new events coming. There are always new and exciting things to see and do at the Mansion.

 

Do you have any activities to engage children?

Yes. One of the exhibits is specifically geared more towards children. The Nursery on the second floor tells the story of the Huston daughters who lived in the house. There are toys, books, samplers, and children’s furniture on display. Our staff also talk about the lives of children in the early 1800s and how they played, their role in the family, their education, even how they went to the bathroom. We also have a crossword puzzle available for children or anyone to do as they take the tour to keep them motivated to pay attention to the docent. We are currently working on more children’s programming and other fun activities, such as a scavenger hunt designed for children.

 

Is the museum handicapped accessible?

Yes. The museum meets the standards and guidelines set forth by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). There is handicapped parking in the rear of the house and a inclined lift on the back door of the house. We do ask that, if possible, please let us know in advance if you require the lift, so that we can have it ready for you. While we do not have an elevator to take guests to the second floor, there is a video tour of the second floor available for any guests, with all the information given on the regular tour. Our restroom facility also is handicapped accessible. It is our goal to make all guests experiences as accessible as possible. For those with sight impairments, our staff offers descriptions of all the rooms and furnishings, as well as hands-on pieces that people are allowed to touch, hold, and feel. We are also currently adding more signage to the museum for those with hearing impairments so that they can read about the different pieces in the house. It is also the plan to develop a QR system, which will allow guests to scan a code to take you to more in-depth descriptions and histories of the items in the house.

 

Can we just come and look at the grounds?

Yes. The grounds of Poplar Hill Mansion are open at all times and guests are more than welcome to come, even on the days the museum is closed, to see the grounds and the exterior of the house. We have some signage on the property to tell the history of some of the structures and gardens and we are working on designing and installing more signs to the grounds to give a more complete history.

 

Do you offer tours specifically geared towards the paranormal?

Yes, by special request. Staff will sometimes mention the paranormal history on a regular tour, but please bear in mind that not all guests want to know about that history and sometimes younger audiences may even become frightened by those stories, so we ask that anyone interested in the paranormal stories to please be considerate of the other guests on a tour. If you want a tour solely about the paranormal stories and experiences, the best thing to do is make a tour by appointment. There is also a company, Chesapeake Ghost Tours, that specializes in paranormal tours and Poplar Hill Mansion is included in their Salisbury Tour.

 

Have another question not listed above? Please email curator@poplarhillmansion.org with any additional questions.