Orchard House was the Alcott family's most permanent home (from 1858 to 1877). Louisa May Alcott wrote her classic work, Little Women, here in 1868 at a "shelf" desk built by her father especially for her. She also set Little Women in this home, causing guests to comment that "a visit to Orchard House is like walking through the book!" There have been no major structural changes to the site since the Alcotts’ time of residence. Approximately 75% of the furnishings were owned by the Alcotts, and the rooms look very much as they did when the family lived there.
A tour of Orchard House introduces visitors both to objects which were important to the family and to the family members themselves: Amos Bronson Alcott, a transcendental philosopher and teacher; Abigail May Alcott, an independent-minded 19th century woman who was one of the first paid social workers in Massachusetts; Anna Alcott Pratt, Meg in Little Women, who had a talent for acting; Louisa May Alcott, Jo in Little Women, well-known author and advocate for social reform; Elizabeth Sewall Alcott, Beth in Little Women, the "angel in the house," who died shortly before the family moved to Orchard House, and May Alcott Nieriker, Amy in Little Women, a very prolific artist.