Built in 1768 for one of the wealthiest merchants in the colonies, the Lee Mansion is internationally recognized as an extraordinary example of pre-Revolutionary Georgian architecture. The attraction for aficionados is the excitement of seeing original hand-painted wallpaper in an 18th-century home, but the friendly, knowledgeable guides make visitors of all interest levels feel welcome. The tour touches on the history of the town as well as the home. Rococo woodcarving and other details complement historically accurate room arrangements, and ongoing restoration and interpretation by the Marblehead Museum & Historical Society place the 18th- and 19th-century furnishings and artifacts in context. The peaceful gardens are open to the public.
Across the street are two galleries (free admission) and administrative offices. One gallery shows paintings by the noted early-20th-century folk artist J.O.J. Frost, a Marblehead native; the other mounts changing exhibits that illustrate town history. Call ahead for the schedule of summer walking tours of Marblehead.