The legacy of the Wakefield-Scearce Galleries–once a renowned school for young women–is perhaps best illuminated during the holidays, when the shops are gleaming with treasures and the property’s rich history comes alive with the jubilant spirit of the season. In keeping with the Kentucky landmark’s original mission, the site remains a wellspring of knowledge and inspiration.
For the young ladies of a bygone era who aspired to pursue lives of knowledge and prosperity, Science Hill was nothing short of a dream. An exceptionally rare institution of learning, this Shelbyville, Kentucky, school opened its doors in 1825 and eventually became one of the preeminent girls’ preparatory academies in America. The ambition of a vibrant young educator who had recently come to the area with her pastor husband, Science Hill School was initiated by Julia Ann Hieronymus Tevis. She strove to take her female students beyond the traditional ladies’ curriculum of reading, writing, and the social graces and encouraged them to explore an education in the sciences— an area of study unheard of for women of the time. After 114 years of successful operation, the prestigious school graduated its last class in 1939 and had earned a reputation of excellence for its contribution to education and culture.
Now a showcase for some of the country’s finest British antiques, Science Hill’s Wakefield-Scearce Galleries pays a fitting tribute to the illustrious legacy of this historic property. Founded in 1947 by Mark Wakefield and Mark Scearce, these exquisite galleries are especially captivating during Christmastime, when visitors are offered a holiday experience like no other, amidst an enchanted ambience that truly embodies the brilliance and innovative spirit of the school’s earliest pioneers. Guests are invited to stroll throughout 32,000 square feet of impeccably decorated rooms to delight in one of the country’s most recognized purveyors of English Georgian antiques. An unsurpassed collection of vintage silver, fi ne oil paintings, and stunning accessories adds to the beautiful bounty at the Wakefield-Scearce Galleries, affording shoppers an opportunity to view and purchase the remarkable period furniture in a warm and inviting residential atmosphere. A charmed destination for celebrating the season, the property also includes the Courtyard—five shops that sell items ranging from apparel and linens to silver and Christmas ornaments—as well as the Science Hill Inn restaurant, which serves delectable food from the school’s original kitchen and dining hall. Radiant with elegance and rich with history, Science Hill remains a monument of gentility, education, and gracious living, just as it did more than two hundred years ago.
“A Timeless Tribute to Gracious Living: Science Hill’s Wakefield-Scearce Galleries” can be found on page 55 of the Holiday Bliss 2015 issue of Victoria magazine.