Inside the CHS

Kat’s Creative Corner: Colonial Cooking

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Objects Tell Stories: Why the Long Face?

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man painting a thangka

Connecticut Cultural Exhibits Get a Second Life

June 30, 2020 · Collections ·

Since 1991, the Connecticut Cultural Heritage Arts Program (CCHAP) has documented more than 400 traditional artists and publicly promoted the cultural heritage of dozens of ethnic and occupational communities. Partnerships with these many artists and communities came to fruition in different ways, including 24 different folklife exhibits. These exhibits were full of original research and…
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Kat’s Creative Corner: Magical Museums

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Objects Tell Stories: The Nutmeg State

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Kat’s Creative Corner: Fun in the Sun

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Objects Tell Stories: Adventures with Art

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Kat’s Creative Corner: Celebrating Family

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Objects Tell Stories: What’s in the Toy Box?

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Kat’s Creative Corner: Quilt Quest

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Objects Tell Stories: That’s Wacky!

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Kat’s Creative Corner: May Day

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Objects Tell Stories: Sports

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Kat’s Creative Corner: Mapping CT

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Objects Tell Stories: Whaling

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Kat’s Creative Corner: Say Cheese

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Lifestyles of Hartford Rich and Famous

April 16, 2020 · Collections ·

How does someone with friends in high places and a hand in the larger Hartford business community stay entertained? Theater? Saloons? Church socials? For Pliney Jewell, his entertainment came in the form of taking care of pet bullfrogs.

Kat’s Creative Corner: What’s Your Story?

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Kat’s Creative Corner: Earth Day Birthday Part 2

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Objects Tell Stories: What is a Collection?

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Kat’s Creative Corner: Earth Day Birthday Part 1

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young people in Albanian dance costume pose with man in blue shirt

Welcome, 2019-2020 Apprenticeship Teams!

January 16, 2020 · Collections ·

To support the learning of living cultural heritage, the Connecticut Cultural Heritage Arts Program announces its 2019-2020 grant recipients.

Shake Up Your “Giggle Water” With This Handsome Silver Penguin

January 1, 2020 · Collections, Latest News ·

When national Prohibition went into effect in January 1920, it drove the alcohol industry largely underground. Distilled spirits were more profitable for bootleggers to produce than wine or beer, but the product was low-quality and tasted awful. Cocktails or mixed drinks soared in popularity because the mixers and sweeteners masked the flavor of bootleg booze….
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Hot Chocolate in Historic Connecticut

December 4, 2019 · Collections ·

Where in Connecticut could you buy hot cocoa for only 5 cents? Hammonasset Beach State Park! Now, some of you may be thinking, “Hot chocolate on a beach in the middle of the summer? That seems like a strange combination.” Interestingly, Connecticut has a long history of unusual hot chocolate pairings. In the early 1970s,…
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“A Memorial” in Wool: Phineas Meigs’ Hat

September 23, 2019 · Collections ·

People frequently ask me what’s my favorite item in the CHS collection. Frankly, that’s a tough one, not only because there are so many great items but also because different objects tell different stories in different ways. So when asked this question recently (appropriately enough while I was watching our town’s Memorial Day parade) I…
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Churches Meet Not Only Religious, but Social and Cultural Needs among South Koreans in Greater Hartford Area

September 10, 2019 · Collections ·

Over the summer, I was an intern at the Connecticut Historical Society (CHS) working for the Connecticut Cultural Heritage Arts Program (CCHAP) to conduct fieldwork with a cultural community. I chose to study South Koreans because I knew the population was there and I wanted to learn more about their culture…

Ever Heard of Nick’s Café?

August 28, 2019 · Collections ·

Founded in 1951, Nick’s Café of Hartford, Connecticut served as a multi-decade cultural institution. However, it was neither the first nor the only gay bar in Connecticut. Despite oppression, many LGBTQ people were not about to return to living solitary, isolated lives after experiencing a brief taste of freedom during the years of World War…
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What is it?

Why, it’s a playing card holder used to do magic tricks, of course! It was used by Albert Walker (1836-1902) of Glastonbury, who was a farmer, craftsman – and magician! Walker also performed puppet and ventriloquist shows, and made his own equipment, including the puppets, magic wands, metal and cardboard cups for ‘disappearing ball’ tricks and…
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The Space Industry in Connecticut

July 3, 2019 · Collections ·

What object is featured in this picture and how did Connecticut aid in its development? It’s the Space Station! Hamilton Standard, now a division of United Technologies Corp., is a Connecticut company that played a major role in the space industry, including the development of the space station. According to Hamilton Standard, the Space Station…
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“Dear Mother and Dady….I am not hurt from the fire”: July 6, 1944

June 28, 2019 · Collections ·

July 6, 2019 marks 75 years since the Hartford circus fire, one of the worst disasters in Connecticut’s history. One hundred and sixty-eight people, 71 under the age of 19, died when the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus’s big top caught fire in 1944. The blaze was aided by a strong wind and…
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Name that Instrument!

May 29, 2019 · Collections ·

Can you guess what instrument he’s playing? Hint: it’s not a piano… …It’s a harpsichord! A harpsichord is similar to a piano, but the sounding mechanisms and characteristics of the sounds are slightly different. This is a photo taken in 1955 of a display at G. Fox. & Co., either on a stage or in…
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Guess How Much?

April 25, 2019 · Collections ·

How much did this cream rayon satin wedding gown cost in 1941? Twenty-nine dollars and ninety eight cents. How do we know? We’ve got the original G. Fox & Co. receipt! Barbara Doty married Francis Kane at Plymouth Congregational Church in Thomaston, Connecticut, on 11 October 1941. The bride wore matching pumps and a borrowed…
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…Why, Kate the Great, of course!

March 5, 2019 · Collections ·

Hartford native Katharine Hepburn is a stage and screen legend who inspired designers and influenced fashion. She preferred menswear styles that allowed her to be comfortable and move freely. Her style, once considered eccentric, is now classic. This past October, when some of Katharine Hepburn’s clothing items came up for auction at Augusta Auctions in…
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Isn’t It Romantic! (not really)

January 29, 2019 · Collections ·

At first glance, you might think this is a Valentine. Nope! It’s an 1880s trade card. Trade cards were advertisements, with cute or funny images, that were hugely popular in the late 19th century. They were used to sell household products, medicines, tobacco, and lots of other stuff. People collected them and even pasted them…
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Sabrina helps out with facepainting at Dia de los Muertos at CHS

A Rewarding Autumn at the Historical Society

December 28, 2018 · CCHAP ·

“The collaborative attitude CHS held created a great bond among its workers, which makes volunteers like me want to work even harder for the CHS – not because the school demanded me to do so, but because I fell in love with the community.”

Who is this mystery hunk?

December 26, 2018 · Exhibits ·

Why, Burt Lancaster, of course! The 1968 film The Swimmer was based on a short story of the same name by John Cheever, and filmed largely in Westport, CT! Though its initial reception was lukewarm, it has achieved a cult status. Critic Vincent Canby praised it for its “grim, disturbing and sometimes funny view of…
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Trinity College students at Mas Exhibit at CHS

Arts in Action

December 22, 2018 · CCHAP ·

“One main thing that I can take away from my time volunteering with CCHAP is that it really is important and fulfilling to be involved in the community. Every single person has a story to tell about how they grew up and how their culture influences their daily living.”

2018-2019 Southern New England Apprenticeship Program

December 13, 2018 · CCHAP, CHS Buzz, Latest News ·

The Connecticut Cultural Heritage Arts Program at the Connecticut Historical Society is pleased to announce the 2018-2019 grant recipients for the Southern New England Apprenticeship Program. These grants support skilled traditional artists and craftspeople to intensive teach their expertise to a student apprentice, recognizing that Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island share many ethnic and occupational…
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Hamilton’s Hair

November 30, 2018 · Exhibits ·

Answer: His hair! A small gold locket containing Alexander Hamilton’s hair is in the CHS collection. According to the engraving on the back of the locket, the hair was “given by his descendant to Mrs. Martha Lyman Foster and left by her to Miss E.L. Dixon.” Weird, huh? But still cool! If you are a…
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The Joy of Toys!

November 29, 2018 · Collections ·

Although almost every toy in this display is older than I am, installing Connecticut’s Toy Story took me down memory lane. It’s crazy to think that some of my greatest memories growing up include playing with toys made in Connecticut! Who knew! Like Legos®. Oh, we had some really epic Lego building competitions with my…
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