Thank you for considering the Seward House Museum for your upcoming event! We are pleased to offer two dynamic spaces that can be used for business functions, birthday parties, a family reunion, retirement party, or holiday celebration.
The South Lawn of the garden is our largest open space and can accommodate up to 300 people for a cocktail reception or 200 people for a seated event. The garden also has several other spaces that are more intimate that can accommodate anywhere from 5 to 100 people.
The Seward’s not only spent countless hours in the garden as a family, but often welcomed visitors to the beautiful space. On Seward’s 69th birthday, May 16, 1870, he entertained faculty and students from nearby Wells College. A writer later recalled their time in the garden: “lilac and cinnamon, crimson and white peonies everywhere tempted him aside from the sober ivy, the emulous myrtle and laughing primrose borders; and stopping by the sun dial which noted the passing hours, he came by surprise upon a graceful figure that was moving down towards the butternut trees.” Seward’s son Will also held numerous gatherings on the South Lawn. One gathering that Will hosted on August 14th, 1913 commemorated the 50th anniversary of the 9th New York Heavy Artillery.
The interior of the Seward House Museum is available for receptions of up to 100 people and the Front Hall is perfect for smaller presentations of 25 people. While food is not allowed within the historic home, it can be set up in the Museum Gift Shop. The Museum is a wonderful place for events throughout the entire year. The Museum is only available for rental after operating hours.
The Seward family home has been entertaining visitors from all over the world for 200 years and William H. Seward was famous for his lavish parties. In 1868, when he was negotiating the Burlingame Treaty (named for Anson Burlingame who was the American minister to China from 1861 to 1867) with China, the Chinese delegation who met with Seward in Washington also stopped in Auburn. Here, they were entertained by Seward in his home at 33 South Street. Not only did Seward include local leaders at his dining table, but also national leaders of the Women’s Rights Movement, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Martha Coffin Wright. Stanton recalled one such evening in her book Eighty Years and More: Reminiscences of Elizabeth Cady Stanton by saying that after dinner, the dancing commenced “and young ladies and gentlemen, locked in each other’s arms, began to whirl in the giddy waltz.”
Both the Garden and Museum are the perfect place to host a gathering of any occasion. Add an elegant, classic flair to your gathering by hosting it against the backdrop of the charming Italianate villa and sprawling lacework gardens that comprise the Seward House Museum.
We recommend a site visit for anyone considering an event at the Seward House Museum.
Please see our Event Rental Policy and Agreement: 2017_Rental Policy+Contract.pdf
Please contact the Director of Development or call (315) 252-1283 to set up an appointment to visit or to discuss rental options.