Middlesex County Modern


Between 1930 and 1970, modern architectural ideas spread from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to new residents filling the growing western suburbs of Boston and Cambridge. Many new homes in Concord and the surrounding towns in Middlesex County reflected modern ideas that changed the physical and social makeup of these colonial towns with agricultural roots. These modern homes expressed the new social and aesthetic aspirations of members of Boston and Cambridge academic and research communities by offering simple, affordable, gracious living in proximity to nature, with an easy commute along the newly-built Route 2.

Long Chair from the Gropius House

Long Chair from the Gropius House, Lincoln, Massachusetts, Marcel Breuer for Isokon Furniture Co., London, 1936-7, birch plywood, canvas, sheepskin. Courtesy of Historic New England. Bequest of Ise Gropius, 1984.25AB and 2000.683AB.

Middlesex County Modern was on view from October 9, 2015 through March 20, 2016 in the Wallace Kane Gallery at the Concord Museum. This innovative exhibition, organized by Guest Curator Rebecca Migdal, explored modern architecture in this region and its impact on design and the community. The exhibition focused on local purpose-built modern neighborhoods such as Conantum in Concord and iconic buildings such as Gropius House in Lincoln, as well as key agents in the spread of modern architecture, including the Harvard Graduate School of Design, The Architects’ Collaborative (TAC), and Design Research, architect Ben Thompson’s “lifestyle store.”

This on-line exhibition brings together a selection of the material from the exhibition and expands on the resources available to learn more about the Conantum neighborhood of Concord.

To view larger images, please click on the images below.

Eames Rocking Chair

Eames Rocking Chair, Charles and Ray Eames, for Herman Miller, Michigan, fiberglass, metal, and birch, 1948-50. Private Collection.

“Lotus” Enamelware, Grete Prytz Kittelsen and Arne Clausen for Catherineholm, Norway, 1963-5, enamel-coated steel. Private Collection.


Pepper Mills, Jens Herold Quistgaard for Dansk Designs, New York, 1960s, teak and epoxy, metal/plastic mechanisms. Private Collection.

To Learn More

Read an interview with Guest Curator, Rebecca Migdal in Antiques and the Arts Weekly.

Explore Historic New England’s Gropius House in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

Browse Docomomo US to find all the latest in modern architecture preservation.

Photographs of the Eames Rocking Chair, “Lotus” Enamelware, and Pepper Mills by David Bohl.