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Collecting the Weird in Connecticut: Panel Discussion

Thursday, January 25 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm |

An ordinary-looking map with a sinister surprise. Earrings made of human hair. A piece of a revered Connecticut tree carved in the shape of a….ham?

Museums are full of objects that make staff and visitors say, “Huh?”. But what makes these objects so strange to us?  What makes an object “weird”? That’s the question that inspired our latest exhibition, That’s Weird.

On January 25, join CHS Chief Curator Ilene Frank and other Connecticut museum professionals as they share some of their favorite oddball collection items. We’ll talk about the challenges of displaying and interpreting weird items — how, for example, do you use a whale’s (huge!) kidney stone to tell the story of Connecticut? What about a roomful of human brain specimens, or a 19th-century desk made of vulcanized rubber?

This event is free and open to the public, but please RSVP at (860) 236-5621 x238 or by emailing [email protected] Questions? Email Natalie Belanger, Adult Programs Manager, at [email protected] or call (860) 236-5621 x289.

About The Panelists:

Moderator Ilene Frank is the Chief Curator at the Connecticut Historical Society.

Robert Burns is the Director of the Mattatuck Museum.

Fred Calabretta is Director of Collections Management and Senior Curator at Mystic Seaport. He has curated or co-curated a number of exhibitions and has published two books and a number of articles.

Melissa Grafe is the John R. Bumstead Librarian for Medical History at the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library, Yale University, and the Head of the Medical Historical Library.


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Please note the museum & research center will be closed for Thanksgiving (11/22)