By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Boston – When news broke that there will be a “Downton Abbey” movie out this summer, fans of the wildly popular PBS series cheered. The show, which followed the lives of the aristocratic Crawford family – and the staff that served them at the family home, Downton Abbey – was beloved around the globe during its six-year run from 2010-2015, and the highest-rated PBS series of all time.
But now New England fans do not have to wait until Sept. 20 when the movie is released. Instead they can get their DA fix by attending “Downton Abbey: The Exhibition” which will be presented at the Castle at Park Plaza in Boston until Sept. 29.
The exhibition is a fully immersive, multi-media extravaganza of all things Downton. Guests first view “character displays” which feature film clips, items and photos of all the show’s favorites including Lady Mary, Lady Edith, Lord Grantham, The Dowager Countess, and the unfortunate Matthew Crawley, among others. Moving on, guests find themselves in the midst of some of the most show’s sets such as Mrs. Patmore’s kitchen, Carson’s butler pantry, the servants’ quarters and a gorgeously appointed re-creation of the iconic dining room.
Thousands of artifacts are on display throughout the exhibit including the bell board that told the servants by whom they were being summoned. Over 50 of the actual costumes the characters wore are also on display. Fans will swoon and be filled with fond memories when they see beautiful items such as Lady Mary and Lady Edith’s wedding dresses, Rose’s proposal dress, Lord Grantham’s dress uniform and much more. Large murals of the characters and the rooms in the house are displayed throughout making for fun selfie opportunities with one’s favorite characters.
The exhibition had previously been on display in New York City and West Palm Beach, before coming to Boston.
During a press conference held for the media prior to the exhibition’s Boston opening, Gareth Neame, executive chairman of Carnival Films and executive producer of “Downton Abbey,” and Dominic Burns, SVP, brand management, NBC Universal International Studios, who, with Imagine Exhibitions, created the exhibit, spoke about the tremendously positive response they have received from fans.
“We were trying to think of how to keep the engagement of the 200 million fans around the world, as they waited for the movie to open,” Neame said. “We wanted to keep the show in their hearts and minds. The exhibit is really a lovely bridge between the show and the movie.
“You walk into the exhibit and you see these 50 costumes,” he added. “Those really tell the story of the show.”
“We wanted this to be a very interactive exhibit,” Burns noted. “The narrative of walking through the house and the videos, really allows fans to experience the show.”
“Downton Abbey: The Exhibition” is at The Castle at Park Plaza, 130 Columbus Ave., Boston through Sept. 29. It is open daily between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. (last ticket at 4.30 p.m.). Tickets are $35 and children under 14, accompanied by an adult, will receive free admission. VIP packages and private hire options are also available. For more information, visit www.downtonexhibition.com.