Attention South Florida anglophiles: Downton Abbey has landed in West Palm Beach. Following a blockbuster run in New York City, “Downton Abbey: The Exhibition” has taken up residence in CityPlace, inside the former Macy’s department store. On view through April 22, this interactive experience showcases the history, fashion, and setting behind the hit British historical drama, which aired from 2010 to 2015.
As fans anxiously await the arrival of the Downton Abbey film—due in theaters late next year—they can savor every inch of this fabulous exhibition. Here, Downton Abbey comes alive through original costumes and props, as well as exquisite set recreations and contextualizing historical information. Visitors will come in close contact with “everything they love about the show,” says Dominic Burns, senior VP of brand management for NBC Universal International Studios. Burns was instrumental in putting together this exhibit, which he envisioned as “an altar at which international fans can worship.”
For Burns, the opportunity to present “Downton Abbey: The Exhibition” in the former Macy’s in CityPlace provided him and his colleagues with the space needed to allow attendees to walk through the exhibit as it was first conceived. “Here we are delivering the original experience in all its splendor,” says Burns. This “splendor” includes numerous audiovisual greetings from cast members, as well as the ability to enter through the Green Baize door and experience the servants’ world in much the same way the actors did.
Though the exhibit is rather large, Burns recommends about 45 minutes to an hour to see it all. He elaborates that some visitors will be “swimmers” who wander through the show and be done within that aforementioned time, while others will be “divers” who delve deep into each artifact and display. For the latter group, he advises a few hours or a second trip to take it all in.
Whether you consider yourself a Downton Abbey swimmer or diver, fan or newbie, “Downton Abbey: The Exhibition” is an absolute must-see this season. Here, we highlight five reasons to stop by.
- The Fashion: Let’s be honest, the clothing was the best thing about the series anyway. Here, Downton Abbey devotees can get up close and personal with more than 50 actual costumes worn by the show’s cast, including Lady Edith’s wedding gown, Lord Grantham’s hunting pinks, and Lady Mary’s bedroom dressing robe. There’s also a divine array of era-appropriated jewelry, hats, and accessories.
- The Sets: From the formal Grantham family dining room to the bell board in the servants’ area down below, so many aspects of the Downton Abbey estate have been painstakingly recreated. In this exhibit, visitors can touch quite a few set pieces and become utterly immersed in the surroundings.
- The History: The characters of Downton Abbey, which took place between 1912 and 1925, were intrinsically tied to the world events around them. The show begins with the sinking of the Titanic and plows through numerous other huge happenings, most notably the first world war. This exhibit presents a variety of historical components to help attendees contextualize the memorabilia they’re seeing and the world of Downton Abbey as a whole.
- The Interactive Elements: Ever wonder if you’d make it as a Downton Abbey servant? Find out if you’re more of a cook or a valet with a job interview–style quiz. That’s just one of the many interactive elements included in the exhibition. There’s also dozens of audiovisual goodies to explore, some of which share messages from a few of the show’s most loved characters.
- The Cost: Tickets to “Downton Abbey: The Exhibition” are $35 for adults and $33 for seniors 65 and older. However, children ages 14 and younger are free when accompanied by an adult. Score!