Downton Abbey Lives On!

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Downton Abbey Lives On!
Dress worn by Lady Violet, in an area devoted to the Dowager Countess of Grantham (PHOTO: Marilyn Lara)

March 6, 2016 is a date that no Downton Abbey fan in the United States will ever forget. It was on that date, just over two years ago, that PBS aired the final episode of the beloved British drama. And for the popular show’s millions of fans worldwide, the conclusion of the series resulted in an enormous void on Sunday nights, as withdrawal symptoms set in in the days, weeks, and months that followed.

No longer having the exploits of the aristocratic Crawley-Grantham family and their domestic servants to vicariously observe, the period drama’s rabid followers had no choice but to cope with its absence. Or so they thought.

The upstairs dining room, where much of the Crawley’s gossip and noteworthy stories were shared (PHOTO: Marilyn Lara)

Cue Downton Abbey: The Exhibition, an immersive, interactive museum that has successfully lifted the shadow that was cast from the show’s demise and has proceeded to resurrect it in a most unconventional way.

The exhibit, which launched in Singapore last summer, as the program has a huge following in Asia, recently had its New York City stay extended through Labor Day, September 3, due to overwhelming demand. However, if you don’t live in the New York metropolitan area and haven’t yet toured the post-Edwardian England experience for yourself, don’t fret – the traveling display is set to embark on an extensive, multi-city, U.S. excursion, with future stops expected to be announced imminently.

The wall of bells, used to summon the servants to all parts of the Downton estate (PHOTO: Marilyn Lara)

The showcase is divided into three vast floors housed in a turn of the century-era space built in 1897. Guests are welcomed by the show’s familiar theme music with the first two floors meticulously dedicated to their counterparts featured on the television series, while the third is devoted solely to the elaborate costumes, crowns, and jewelry that fans have marveled at throughout the show’s impressive six-season run, including the intricate wedding dresses of both Lady Mary and Lady Edith, the gaudy harem pants worn by Lady Sybil, as well as Lady Rose’s gorgeous debutante ball gown. War uniforms and servants’ attire also make cameos at the exhibit, part of over 50 outfits on display for all to inspect and enjoy.

The kitchen, where all of the meals are prepared. (PHOTO: Marilyn Lara)

The first floor cleverly recreates the scenery of the servants’ quarters below stairs, including Mrs. Patmore’s kitchen and Mr. Carson’s pantry, while the second floor stunningly reconstructs the family’s above stairs living area, where visitors are treated to displays depicting the Crawley’s lavish dining room, as well as Lady Mary’s posh bedchamber.

Other highlights of the tour include CGI video segments, holograms of various cast members guiding guests along, a plethora of massive monitors playing some of the most iconic moments from the series, and a fun, engaging job application/quiz that attendees can fill out to determine what, if any, position at Downton they would best be suited for.

The harem pants worn by Lady Sybil (PHOTO: Marilyn Lara)

For those diehards who still haven’t quite gotten their fill of the fictional Yorkshire estate at the tour’s conclusion, the requisite gift shop has enough souvenirs and mementos to satiate any Downton aficionado.

Downton Abbey: The Exhibition is open daily through September 3 at 218 W. 57th Street (between Broadway & 7th Ave) in New York City from 10am ET – 8pm ET (last admission is at 7pm ET).