Museum of Historical Wallpaper
After over 45 years in the business, Paul has aquired an impressive collection of rare and discontinued wallpaper. It's now all on display in the shop.
The best of over a century of wallpaper
Colonial Wallcoverings was established in 1946 in the South Philly neighborhood known for wallpaper. Paul was but a semi-wayward youth washing cars to pay the bills (for the record, he really enjoyed washing cars), when the store's then owners offered to sell him the business. He took the plunge and, ever quick on the uptake, Paul soon amassed uncommon expertise in Victorian and other designs that were popular at the time. And so it came to pass that after over 45 years, Paul is now quite the keeper of knowledge of all things wallcovering, and the Museum of Historical Wallpaper is just one example of his legacy in the neighborhood, and the wallpaper industry itself.
Each and every wallpanel design is a story to be told, from two women in their 20s trying their hands at designing a vision of the future to a 90 year old woman with decades of experience doing the same. Did you know that during the French Revolution, some people of France would eat the paste off the back of wallpaper just to stay alive? We didn't either, and that's why we love Paul. The Museum of Wallpaper seeks to tell these and many other stories. Come see for yourself - pick up a book or point to a paper hanging, and Paul will take it from there. Just make sure you have enough time, because he loves conversation and some of his stories take unexpected turns.
Looking through these books feels like looking at old photos of myself. They all brings back memories of when I was working with my father in this shop, and we were new to the industry and we'd see something we both really liked and we worked to bring it in. Things that were new when I started in this business, now they are icons, and I'm watching elements of these old designs come back now in new ways.