An international technology race is revolutionizing the world, and it all began in the Elm City. The scientific and technological breakthroughs in superconductive qubit that have been widely adopted by tech giants—including Google, IBM, and Microsoft—were first developed in New Haven.
The Quantum Revolution, a special exhibition on view at the New Haven Museum through September 23, explores this history through a revelatory mix of scientific objects, artifacts, and tools used in recent quantum-computing algorithm experiments, accompanied by original drawings of distinctive handmade machines by Martha W. Lewis, the inaugural resident artist at the Yale Quantum Institute. The Quantum Revolution offers an intimate, first-hand look at untold local history as the world begins the evolutionary move from traditional computers to new dimensions of computing power.
New Haven Museum, newhavenmuseum.org
The French in Lebanon
In November 1780, 250 French troops from the Voluntaires Etrangers de Lauzun arrived in Lebanon, Connecticut for the winter. Officers stayed in private homes while enlisted men bunked in hastily-built barracks. The troops were a welcome source of extra income to area residents, but many locals found them disruptive and unfriendly. They stole chickens to augment their rations and fence rails to fuel their fires.
The Duc de Lauzun refused to stay in the remote town, but the Jonathan Trumbull Jr. family hosted Rene Marie viscomte d’Arrot, colonel commandant of the Legion. Unlike others in town, Eunice Trumbull and her daughter Faith enjoyed their guest, even while their house underwent major renovations. Jonathan Trumbull and d’Arrot met again toward the end of the war as the American and French armies marched to Virginia and the siege at Yorktown.
Visit the Jonathan Trumbull Jr. House Museum, part of the Lebanon Historical Society, on Saturdays this summer to learn more. Lebanon Historical Society Museum, HistoryofLebanon.org
Masonic & Odd Fellows HistoryMattatuck Museum in Waterbury invites you to see Mystery & Benevolence: Masonic and Odd Fellows Folk Art, a special exhibition on view through September 4 revealing the hidden histories of the Freemasons and the Independent Order of the Odd Fellows—two fraternal brotherhoods with deep roots in American history. Visitors will see more than 100 carvings, sculptures, textiles, and regalia that convey the secretive practices of fraternal organizations through their rich symbolism and unusual imagery.
Mystery & Benevolence was organized by the American Folk Art Museum, in New York from the Kendra and Allan Daniel Collection and is toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C.
Mattatuck Museum, mattmuseum.org
In Search of a Solution
As a result of 20 declined merger proposals to secure long-term stewardship of the cemetery, Brookfield’s Laurel Hill Cemetery, a state historic site, and Central Cemetery have proposed the formation of a multi-stakeholder cooperative to address its and other cemeteries’ need for business continuity, fiduciary oversight, and consumer protection. The cooperative form of business organization is a common and effective approach to ownership and governance that combines local autonomy with the advantages of economies of scale.
Connecticut has seen a decades-long pattern of abandonment of cemeteries that suggests there are impediments within the burial site industry to normal market forces that would typically result in consolidation into economically viable units. The trustees of Laurel Hill and Central cemeteries are among those escalating a call for action because of what it sees as the persistent lack of oversight, audit, and enforcement in the industry despite grass root efforts and legislative initiatives over more than 25 years.
For more information, visit centralcemetery.net.
Celebrate summer at Connecticut’s Old State House! The Summer Concert Series is back and better than ever, featuring local talent in genres from Latin to bluegrass. Get ready to enjoy the music, along with the 2022 Farmers Market, which will bring the freshest produce and local products right downtown for easy shopping. The museum is open for visitors all summer long. Get out of the sun and come inside to learn more about the intersection of history and civics by touring restored historic rooms alongside a 21st-century underground exhibit space and the one-of-a-kind Museum of Curiosities. Be sure to visit the gift shop on your way out for that special souvenir. Visit ctoldstatehouse.org for more information about the concert series, the farmers market vendors and hours of operation, and other fun for the season on the Old State House lawn in downtown Hartford.
Connecticut Democracy Center at Connecticut’s Old State House, ctdemocracycenter.org
Discover the history and beauty of Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford on a Sunset Tour on Thursday, August 11, at 6:30 p.m. The guided walk will showcase the Victorian-era cemetery’s most celebrated residents and renowned monuments.
Learn about Horace Wells, the discoverer of anesthesia, Academy-award winning actress Katharine Hepburn, and J. Pierpont Morgan, the man who saved the country from bankruptcy twice. Marvel at the Civil War memorial of General Griffin Stedman, the zinc marker of troubled businessman Samuel Colt, and the Egyptian Revival pyramid of insurance executive Mark Howard. Participants will enjoy watching the sun set over Cedar Mountain during the walk. Advance reservations are recommended and may be made online at cedarhillfoundation.org.
Cedar Hill Cemetery, cedarhillfoundation.org
Nowashe Village Season Opening
Join the Friends of Wood Memorial Library at Nowashe Village in South Windsor on Saturday, June 11, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., for the third annual Artifact Identification Day. Visitors may bring three items they think might be Native American in origin for experts to identify. See live canoe burning, wampum making, and weaving demonstrations. Free admission; donations encouraged.
Nowashe Village, Nowashe.org
Contemporary Black Artists
The New Britain Museum of American Art is honored to present 30 Americans, on view June 16 to October 30, drawn from the acclaimed Rubell Museum in Miami, Florida. This ground-breaking exhibition tells the story of Black humanity through the gaze of some of the most significant Black artists of the last four decades, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mickalene Thomas, Kara Walker, Hank Willis Thomas, and Kehinde Wiley. Dating from the 1970s to the 2000s, the extensive group of paintings, drawings, collages, photography, portraiture, sculptures, installations, and performance art addresses more than 200 years of American history and considers the powerful influence of artistic legacy and community across generations. 30 Americansinvites us to confront the complexities of individual and collective self-making, explore the transformative paths of self-determination and self-healing, reclaim dignity and liberation of the Black body and Black sexuality, and reframe the past, present, and future of African-descended people through wonder and imagination. Plan your visit at nbmaa.org.
New Britain Museum of American Art, Nbmaa.org
Art Exhibition for Hamilton Fans
The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art invites all the Hamilton fans out there to explore Hamilton: The Art of Remaking History on view June 24 – September 11. While the award-winning musical returns to The Bushnell this summer, fans can visit the Wadsworth to learn how historic imagery informed the costume and set designs brought to life on stage. Wadsworth visitors will be inspired to take a fresh look at Revolutionary War-era paintings, costumes, and archival letters in the museum’s collection from the era in which the musical is set. [exhibition title]is produced in collaboration with The Bushnell Performing Arts Center and the Connecticut Historical Society.
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, thewadsworth.org
Wilton’s First Families Explored
In Lives and Landscapes: Art from the Permanent Collection of Wilton Historical Society, rarely seen works capture something of the personality of the town through the faces and places depicted. Portraits of some of the members of Wilton’s first families—Lamberts, Beldens, and Grummons, among them—and more distant relatives of those families are featured. Town landmarks, such as the Wilton Congregational Church painted in an Impressionistic style en plein air by Robert Emmett Owen (above) and Lambert House by H.G. Thompson, are beautifully depicted. Artists include Ralph Earl, Gilbert Stuart Newton, Richard Daggy, and sculptor A. Phimister Proctor. Lives and Landscapes is on view through October.
Wilton Historical Society, wiltonhistorical.org
Enjoy a Landmarks Summer
Connecticut Landmarks, the statewide nonprofit museum and preservation organization, has launched a calendar of summer programming. Visit ctlandmarks.org to view the program guide, register for events, and buy tickets to tour their six historic sites in Hartford, New London, Bethlehem, Coventry, and Suffield.
The Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden, Phelps-Hatheway House & Garden, Butler-McCook House & Garden, Isham-Terry House, Nathan Hale Homestead, and Hempsted Houses all have great programming all season long. In particular, the Nathan Hale Homestead continues to count down toward the America250 celebration in 2026 with its annual “Redcoats, Rebellion, and the Hale Homestead” encampment on August 27 featuring family-friendly activities, demonstrations, and more. Coming in October, the spooky Things that Go Bump in the Night tours return to the homestead, but the tickets sell out fast. Get yours soon for a frightfully good time!
Connecticut Historical Society Museum & Library, chs.org
Keeler Kids & 4th of July
There’s so much to do at Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center in Ridgefield this summer! The museum is extending its hours to create even more opportunities for visitors to explore the historic tavern museum and beautiful four-acre gardens and grounds. Try out the evening hours on Thursdays, when the museum is open until 7 p.m.! Public programming highlights include Fourth of July festivities—a community event that attracts hundreds of visitors for games, food, and celebration—and a new exhibition exploring the museum’s historiography: how it has interpreted and told its stories throughout the decades. Visit the calendar of events at keelertavernmuseum.org/events.
KTM&HC also has lots of great programming for kids during summer vacation. Week-long sessions of Keeler Kids offer children a unique chance to explore local history through a variety of creative, interactive, and hands-on activities. This place-based programming makes local history accessible and engaging—a great opportunity for kids of all ages! Learn more and register at keelertavernmuseum.org/education/keeler-kids.
Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center, Keelertavernmuseum.org
A Sense of Place in Greenwich
A highlight of the Greenwich Historical Society’s ongoing 90th-anniversary celebration, DISCOVER GREENWICH promotes a sense of place and belonging, sparks dialogue, and inspires meaningful connections across the town’s diverse community. Step back in time and explore its local neighborhoods, topography, and architecture through a series of informative guided walking tours that illuminate the stories behind the vibrant town we know today. Enrich your knowledge and understanding of Greenwich history through lectures and archival resources that strengthen our connections to the past, to each other, and to our collective future. Engage with members of the community through interactive live programs and events including art classes, picnics, and scavenger hunts to gain a deeper appreciation of town residents' common experiences and shared environment. To learn more and to register for walking tours and other programs visit greenwichhistory.org/discover-greenwich.
Greenwich Historical Society, Greenwichhistory.org
Formative: Frederick Law Olmsted in Connecticut, on view at the Connecticut Historical Society through August 28, celebrates the landscape architect’s birth 200 years ago last April. While his best-known projects are elsewhere, Olmsted was born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut. Formative reflects on Olmsted’s legacy and explores the impact of his early years in Connecticut on his career.
Today, Olmsted’s Connecticut legacy lives on through the public spaces he designed. Walnut Hill Park in New Britain, Seaside and Beardsley parks in Bridgeport, and the grounds of the Institute of Living in Hartford are a few examples of the nearly 300 Olmsted commissions across the state of Connecticut.
Connecticut Historical Society Museum & Library, chs.org
Slate Restoration at the Slater
In 2022 Slater Memorial Museum of Norwich Free Academy, dedicated in 1886, embarked on a restoration of its original 135-year-old roof. This is the first project of its kind to be performed on the museum building and will be a comprehensive restoration of the entire roofing system. Because of the nature of the project, the museum closed to the public on January 1 and will aim to reopen toward the end of 2022. The museum’s collection and exhibitions will be preserved, and in some cases relocated, to maintain their safety and allow for a seamless restoration process. While the museum will be closed temporarily to visitors, the staff will be hard at work behind the scenes connecting with students and the public through digital means, and everyone is invited to join in this exciting journey. Visit slatermuseum.org to learn more and stay updated throughout the restoration!
Slater Memorial Museum, slatermuseum.org
31st Annual Juneteenth
The Amistad Center for Art & Culture invites you to its 31st annual Juneteenth celebration—one of the first and longest-running Juneteenth events in the state. An outdoor family day on Saturday, June 11, and city-wide celebration with special guest performances on Sunday, June 19, bring the diverse Greater Hartford community together in celebration of this important day in America’s history. Visit the center’s special exhibition, Anika Noni Rose, which celebrates the achievements of the Bloomfield-born actor and singer.
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It marks an important moment in American history, June 19, 1865, when the enslaved in Galveston, Texas first learned of their freedom—two and a half years after the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation. Over the years Juneteenth commemorations have grown into broad and jubilant celebrations of achievement, community, and heritage, and the center’s events in Hartford are among the finest.
The Amistad Center for Art & Culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, AmistadCenter.org
Hartford’s First Women VotersNow on view in the Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library, October 1920 is an exhibition that highlights the first women who registered to vote in Hartford following passage of the 19th Amendment in August 1920. Central to the exhibition are scanned and digitized voter registration cards from that year in the Hartford History Center’s collection. The cards provide a trove of demographic and biographical information about the women who came to the polls that year. The exhibit also includes photographs, advertisements, newspaper articles, and other historic documents to provide a glimpse of life in Hartford in 1920 and highlight the women’s suffrage movement. First launched online, October 1920 received a 2021 Award of Merit from the Connecticut League of History Organizations.
Hartford Public Library, hplct.org
Historic Landscapes Celebrated
Join Preservation Connecticut for the debut of its Picturing History: Historic Landscapes of Connecticutphotography exhibition, inspired by the 200th birthday of Frederick Law Olmsted and his legacy as a landscape architect, author, and conservationist. You’re invited to the opening reception on June 11 at the Art League of New Britain. During the opening, enjoy walking tours of nearby Walnut Hill Park (above), listed on the National Register of Historic Places and one of Olmsted’s early designs. Picturing History will be on view at the Art League through the end of June before it tours the state. Please visit the art league’s website, alnb.org, for location and gallery hours.
Picturing History is only one of many events planned to commemorate Olmsted this year! Visit preservationct.org/events and olmsted200.org/join-the-celebration/events/ for more information. Preservation CT hopes to see you there!
Views of the Connecticut Shoreline
The historic waterfronts and picturesque landscapes of Mystic, Connecticut have long made the town a destination for artists and visitors. Picturing Mystic: Views of the Connecticut Shoreline, 1890 – 1950, on view May 21 – September 4 at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, focuses on the art and artists of Mystic, Noank, Mason’s Island, and Stonington, with more than 60 varied landscapes dating from 1890 to 1950. Historic maps, photographs, and postcards contextualize the works on view and trace how the village and the landscape have endured and changed over the last 130 years. Postcards and snapshots also reveal how artists were part of a broader visual culture of tourism in New England, helping to shape Mystic’s identity as an iconic seaside destination. Picturing Mystic explores what makes this region so special, with art from the private collection of Jonathan C. Sproul and the Lyman Allyn Art Museum.
Lyman Allyn Art Museum, lymanallyn.org
The Influence of Venetian Glass
This fall Mystic Seaport Museum invites you to Sargent, Whistler, and Venetian Glass: American Artists and the Magic of Murano, the first comprehensive survey of American engagement with the art world of late 19th-century Venice. Featuring more than 150 objects, this exhibition, organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, will present exquisitely crafted glass vessels among paintings, watercolors, and prints by the many talented American artists who found inspiration in Venice.
Together these works show the impact of Italian glass on American art, literature, design theory, and science education, as well as period ideologies of gender, labor, and class relations. For Sargent, Whistler, and their patrons, these glass vessels were both works of art and symbols of collective esteem for history, beauty, and craftsmanship—a combination of connoisseurship and visual pleasure that continues to gratify today’s visitors to this enchanting island city.
Mystic Seaport Museum, Mysticseaport.org
A Book Review by the Chief Justice
The Litchfield Historical Society recently acquired a previously unpublished early 19th century letter from U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall to Judge James Gould, instructor at the Litchfield Law School. Hired to assist teaching duties at the Litchfield Law School in 1798, Gould took over the school entirely from founder Tapping Reeve in 1820. Prior to subsequently closing the school in 1832, Gould published A Treatise on the Principles of Pleading in Civil Actions. About A Treatise Chief Justice Marshall wrote, “I have now read it through with advantage to my self, and with some surprise at finding that a subject which has employed so many pens should still admit of being presented in a form that may make the book an acquisition certainly to the law student, and indeed to the profession. You have well arranged the matter belonging to the subject.” Learn more about this letter on the Litchfield Historical Society blog at blog.litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org.
Litchfield Historical Society; Tapping Reeve House and Litchfield Law School, litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org
You are invited for family-friendly evenings on the third Thursdays in June, July, and August at the Noah Webster House. Mini-tours will explore new discoveries that provide a more complete history of West Hartford. Enjoy the summer weather on the patio with games, food trucks, and more!
Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society; noahwebsterhouse.org
Our Animal Neighbors Explored
In her first solo museum exhibition, artist Dana Sherwood brings together film, sculpture installations, and oil and watercolor paintings to interrogate the relationship between wild nature and domestic culture. Dana Sherwood: Animal Appetites and Other Encounters in Wildness, on view May 21 through September 18 at the Florence Griswold Museum, is a whimsical, thought-provoking rumination on connections between humankind and our animal neighbors.
Last year Sherwood served as the museum’s artist-in-residence, creating an outdoor reimagination of one of the Griswold House period rooms. The artist staged an inviting banquet for nocturnal visitors and filmed the animals feasting. The film is incorporated into her exhibition for which, inspired by fantasies like Alice in Wonderland, Sherwood fills the historic dining room with gleaming, candy-like sculptures and terrariums filled with flowers, cake, and hungry snails. As Sherwood observes, “when you invite the chaos of nature as a collaborator, there’s no telling what’s going to happen.”
Florence Griswold Museum, florencegriswoldmuseum.org
The Handsomest Building in New England
The construction of the Connecticut State Library and Supreme Court Building began on October 23, 1908 and the building opened to the public on November 28, 1910. On December 17, 1910 The Hartford Courantdescribed it as one of the most beautiful structures in this country and the handsomest building in New England.
The building was designed by New York architect Donn Barber of the firm Carrere and Hastings, in collaboration with architect Edward T. Hapgood of Hapgood & Hapgood of Hartford. Barber and Hapgood envisioned a design using the Italian Renaissance style, and their plan was selected following an extensive vetting of submissions by a state commission originally organized to make repairs to the State Capitol.
Though both architects were born out of state, Barber and Hapgood made historic contributions by designing several buildings throughout Connecticut. Many of these buildings are still visible today, including the handsomest building in New England.
Connecticut State Library, Ctstate.library.org
Summer Book Sale!
Don’t miss the event of the season! Join Pequot Library in Southport on its Great Lawn from July 22 to 26 for one of the largest book sales in New England, with more than 100,000 books, plus CDs, DVDs, records, and unique “Specials” for sale. All items are gently used and donated to Pequot Library. This incredible annual event is one of the library’s most critical fundraisers and community events, attracting more than 10,000 visitors and raising more than $100,000 for the library’s operations each year. This year, come early on July 22 for coffee and a book signing with author and book influencer Zibby Owens. Then, on July 24, bring the kids in their costumed best for Princess and Pirate day! Hours July 22 – 25 are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; July 26, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information visit pequotlibrary.org.
Pequot Library, Pequotlibrary.org
Listen to our Podcasts!
Listen to our bi-weekly Grating the Nutmeg episodes by Walt Woodward, CTExplored's Mary Donohue and Elizabeth Normen, and CT Historical Society's Natalie Belanger. Visit Gratingthenutmeg.libsyn.com or CTExplored.org/Listen.
Tours and Talks at Twain
The Mark Twain House & Museum is open for guided tours year round. Due to COVID safety precautions, tour sizes are limited and tours often sell out ahead of time, so it’s best to reserve your spot in advance online. The museum offers a general tour filled with family anecdotes and history; living history tours featuring costumed actors portraying butler George Griffin, the Clemens family’s gossipy maid Lizzie Wills, and woman-of-the-house Livy Clemens, and a kids’ tour about the everyday life of daughters Susy, Clara, and Jean Clemens. For a full schedule and tour options visit MarkTwainHouse.org.
Every week the museum hosts best-selling authors, many in partnership with Harper’s Magazine. Authors talk about their latest books in conversation with an intriguing host. Recent guests have included Joyce Carol Oates, Preston & Child, Touré, Jodi Picoult, and Michael Connelly, among others. For information about upcoming virtual and in-person author programs and special Twain-related lectures visit MarkTwainHouse.org/Events.
The Mark Twain House & Museum, MarkTwainHouse.org
Hill-Stead Celebrates 75
Get ready to celebrate Hill-Stead’s 75th Anniversary this summer! For the third year in a row, the museum will host From the Porch, its performing art series. Join the museum’s Juneteenth event as a day of discovery and celebration featuring regional Black artists, organizations, and businesses. And to celebrate museum founder Theodate Pope Riddle’s passion for spiritualism, the museum is partnering with the Brooklyn-based artist collective Hilma’s Ghost to explore this interest. The programming and artwork, including paintings and automatic drawings, will highlight Theodate’s deep interest in the spiritual world. Visit the museum’s website for updates on these events!
Hill-Stead Museum, 35 Mountain Road, Hillstead.org
2022 Stowe Prize Winner
The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is delighted to announce Dr. Clint Smith (above) as the 2022 Stowe Prize winner for his New York Times bestselling book How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery across America.
You are invited to help honor Dr. Smith and How the Word Is Passed. The celebration will feature several related programs, including a ticketed in-person fundraising event on June 1 and culminating in a free virtual program streamed online and screened on the Stowe Center grounds on Thursday, September 22 (rain date September 23). In keeping with the critical historical work of How the Word Is Passed, the free September program will feature Dr. Smith’s assessment of the Stowe Center’s role and responsibility as a museum teaching race history through the narrative of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s life and writing and as an organization mission-driven to inspire social justice and positive change. Visit stowecenter.org for details.
Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, HarrietBeecherStoweCenter.org
ASCH is for You!
Since 1970 the Association for the Study of Connecticut History (ASCH) has been promoting the study of the history of Connecticut via meetings and conferences. In 1974 ASCH began publishing Connecticut History, now Connecticut History Review, the only academic, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the history of Connecticut. Its meetings, conferences, and the journal serve many constituencies: academic scholars, museum and historical society professionals, history buffs, graduate students, and educators.
Visit Asch-cthistory.org for more information.