Coffin House chronicles the evolution of domestic life in rural New England over three centuries. The structure, which contains the family's furnishings, began as a simple dwelling built in the post-medieval style. Tristam Coffin and his family lived, cooked and slept in two or possibly three rooms; their possessions were few.
About 1700, the house was more than doubled in size to provide living space for a married son and his family. As the family grew, partitions were added and lean-tos built so that different generations could continue to live together under one roof.
In 1785, two Coffin brothers legally divided the structure into two separate dwellings, each with its own kitchen and living spaces. With rooms from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, Coffin House depicts the impact of an expanding economy and new concepts, such as the notion of privacy, on architecture and modes of living.