Review of ‘Time for Tea’ exhibit at historic Ainsley House

Ainsley House front door. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Campbell’s historic Ainsley House hosts a series of changing exhibits as well as the permanent exhibit of the gardens, the house itself, and its original furnishings. The current exhibit, Time for Tea, will be on display through this weekend only, and provides an inexpensive escape from the stress of everyday life in the San Jose area. Various antique and vintage tea and coffee sets, silver tea services, single teapots and hot chocolate pots, cups, saucers, teaspoons and embroidered tea linens are scattered throughout the house, featured in almost all 15 of the rooms. It expresses the place that tea held in the social and domestic life of the Santa Clara Valley in the 1920s, ’30s and ‘40s. There are sets for breakfast at home, for formal afternoon tea and informal entertaining, for bringing up to guests on a tray, and for the servants in the kitchen.

Art Deco breakfast set. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Featured items include a chrome Art Deco coffee percolator with matching cream pitcher and sugar bowl, a silver-plated teakettle with a hinged base so that it can be poured without being picked up, and a vintage child’s tea set. When you go, ask your tour guide to open the many drawers and cabinets for you, because they are full of vintage household products and Ainsley family belongings! Items on display come from local historical museums – including History San Jose — and individual collections, as well as the Campbell Historical Museum’s collection.

Check in at the Carriage House next to the main house, where there is an interesting historical display and short movie to watch, as well as lots of tea-related things in the gift shop. Museum hours are Thursday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. with the last tour leaving at 3:30 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $2.50 for youth ages 7 through 17; museum members and children 6 and under are free. The Time for Tea exhibit at the Ainsley House and Campbell Historical Museum is a great thing to do in the San Jose area this weekend, and will only take about 2 hours of your time! Lisa’s Tea Treasures at the Pruneyard shopping center is less than 5 minutes away and is the perfect place to go for lunch after your tour.

Campbell Historical Museum and Ainsley House
300 Grant Avenue
Campbell, CA 95008
(408) 866-2118

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog, The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information:
Ainsley House website
“Have a 1940s style tea party”
“Now is the time for garden parties and picnics in San Jose”
“Review: Lisa’s Tea Treasures – Campbell location”
“Tea 101: what do we mean when we talk about tea?”
“Review: the Royal Wedding tea from Lisa’s Tea Treasures”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Chocolate and tea: the perfect match?”
“Study with tea instead of coffee!”
“Practice good manners in San Jose at the tea table”
“6 points of proper tea etiquette for San Jose”

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