Tours for six, masked people at a time are now being conducted at Victoria Mansion in Portland. File photo

The doors to the Victoria Mansion have been shut to visitors since January 2020, but last week the historic Danforth Street home reopened to the public.

“The house has been missing something for the last year and a half. To have visitors, voices and people in the house again, it’s great,” said acting director Tim Brosnihan.

Tours will be offered every 20 minutes between 10:10 a.m. and 3:50 p.m. seven days a week and will be capped at six participants. Masks are required.

The pandemic closure allowed the museum, which had 33,000 visitors in 2019, to focus on restoration work, notably the overhaul of the parlor. Staff and volunteers also created videos about the various spaces in the house, including the dining room, smoking room, library and reception room, as well as videos on tea etiquette, restoration of the parlor and Christmastime at the museum.

Brosnihan said he anticipates more videos being created.

“There is definitely a lot of potential. There are so many stories the house can tell,” he said.

Victoria Mansion was built between 1858 and 1860 for Olivia and Ruggles Morse, who made his wealth as a hotelier in New York, Boston and New Orleans. Following Ruggles’ death, his wife sold sold the home and most of its furnishings in 1895 to J.R. Libby, a local dry goods merchant. The Libby family lived in the home until 1929. After more than a decade being vacant, and with the site on the verge of being sold to construct a gas station, the house was saved and opened as a museum in 1941.

The mansion was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and is considered “one of the finest and least altered examples in the United States of a large Italianate Villa-styled brick and brownstone town house.”

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