Variety Unit, so named because of the eclectic range of collections it exhibits, is the only building original to the Museum site. It was a private home built in 1835 for the Weed family. Its original Greek Revival façade, with its front-gable orientation and a fully articulated pediment, still faces the main road, now US Route 7.
A series of additions, in the New England tradition of continuous architecture, created a rambling building that Museum founder Electra Havemeyer Webb realized was ideal for the display of decorative arts. Exploring the building today is like going on a treasure hunt through the Museum’s exemplary collections of pewter, scrimshaw, glass, Staffordshire, mocha ware, Toby jugs, trivets, food molds, and more.
Upstairs in the Variety Unit, visitors will discover the Museum’s beguiling collection of dolls, dollhouses, and automata, a kind of large-scale mechanical toy.