An Exhibition That Lets You Explore the Sets and Costumes of 'Downton Abbey' Comes to the Chicago Area
November 9, 2023
The final season of Downton Abbey premiered on WTTW almost eight years ago, and now there’s an opportunity for an inside look at the sets, costumes, and other elements of this viewer favorite. After stops around the United States – as well as Singapore – Downton Abbey: The Exhibition will be at Skokie’s Westfield Old Orchard Shopping Mall, beginning November 10 through March 31, 2024.
Downton Abbey, written by Julian Fellowes, made its debut on WTTW in January 2012 and went on to become the highest-rated drama in public media history. Over six sweeping seasons (and two subsequent feature films), viewers followed the story of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants at a sumptuous Yorkshire estate over a period that spanned from the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 to the mid-1920s.
Downton Abbey: The Exhibition, created by Imagine Exhibitions in collaboration with Fellowes, executive producer Gareth Neame, and others, gives fans an up-close-and-personal look at the celebrated props, costumes, and accessories from the series. Attendees will be welcomed into the Crawleys’ house to walk through the elegant dining room, Lady Mary Crawley’s bedroom, Carson the butler’s office, and the busy kitchen and servants’ hall, among other settings that have been recreated to the exact scale of the film sets. More than 65 of the show’s period costumes will be on display – some for the very first time – including their accompanying extravagant hats, glittering jewelry, evening bags, and gloves.
Along the way, an audio tour narrated by the show’s historical advisor Alistair Bruce (fun fact: he also played small roles throughout the course of the series) will provide further detail and context, and through videos and images throughout, attendees will get a sense of the real-life history that coincided with what happened in the show. Afternoon tea and etiquette experiences are also in the exhibition plans.
President & CEO of Imagine Exhibitions Tom Zaller, who led the team that created the exhibition, was already a Downton Abbey fan when he was approached about the project. “My goal with these exhibitions is to put the visitor inside the space,” he said. “I’m glad we were able to work with the cast and the producers to develop such a bespoke and unique experience for the fans.”