The Connecticut Historical Society Announces Smithsonian Affiliation

October 6, 2016 · Press Releases

affiliate-vert-color-rgb-for-webHartford, Conn., (OCT 6) – Against the backdrop of the “Treasury Guard” flag which draped President Lincoln’s box at the Ford’s Theatre the night he was assassinated, the Connecticut Historical Society announced it had joined forces with the Smithsonian Institution.  As a new Affiliate of the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, the CHS now enjoys access to the Smithsonian’s major works of art, historic objects of flight, wonders of nature, icons of American history, and other artifacts, artworks, scientific specimens, and other countless treasures housed in Washington, D.C. The CHS and the Smithsonian celebrated the new relationship with elected officials and supporters yesterday at its Elizabeth Street home in Hartford.

As a member of Smithsonian Affiliations, the CHS now will be able to share the Smithsonian’s massive and extremely significant collections, exhibitions, learning opportunities, and research expertise.  The first major exhibit is being planned for late 2018, giving CHS visitors the opportunity to personally experience the Smithsonian’s national collections without having to go to Washington, D.C.

“As we see with our ‘Treasury Guard’ flag, the CHS is entrusted with many priceless pieces of state and national history,” said Jody Blankenship, CEO of the CHS.  “Therefore, it is a natural step for us to affiliate with America’s ‘crown jewel’ and bring some of its treasures right here to our local community.  This is a great day for Connecticut, for lovers of history, and for the supporters and friends of the CHS.”

Harold Closter, Smithsonian Affiliations director, attended the announcement event.  He explained that the Smithsonian views its Affiliates as “vital partners” in better reaching and serving the public.  He said the program was also designed to build a bridge between the local experiences of communities across the country and the national heritage preserved at the Smithsonian.

“The Connecticut Historical Society truly is the ideal partner for Smithsonian Affiliations,” Closter said.  “It has a proven track record of creating exceptional exhibits and programs that are compelling to people across Connecticut and the region, and has clearly worked towards its mission of preserving and telling Connecticut’s story.  This all works hand-in-hand with the mission of the Smithsonian Institution and its Affiliate Program.  We welcome the CHS and look forward to a great relationship.”

Among honored guests at the announcement event Conn. State Representative Tami Zawistowski (R-61st District), Conn. State Representative Edwin Vargas (D-6th District), and Hartford City Councilman John Gale (D).

In addition to being able to borrow objects from the Smithsonian on a long-term basis, the CHS will enjoy access to custom-developed educational, performing arts, and public programs.  It also will be able to be included in grant-funded research and education programs, and will be able to attend the annual Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference.  Other program benefits will help the CHS improve the overall professional development of its staff and operations.

The Smithsonian Institution ( consists of 19 museums and galleries and the National Zoological Park, as well as research facilities. Among its most popular objects are the original Star-Spangled Banner American flag, Abraham Lincoln’s hat, the Apollo lunar landing module, and the ruby slippers featured in The Wizard of Oz. There are 215 Smithsonian Affiliates in 46 states, Puerto Rico and Panama, which have displayed more than 8,000 Smithsonian artifacts to date.

The Connecticut Historical Society ( is a private, not-for-profit educational organization that includes a museum, library, and the Edgar F. Waterman Research Center. Founded in 1825, the CHS is the state’s official historical society and one of the oldest in the nation. The CHS works to connect visitors to the story of Connecticut, and to help create a society that values historical perspective and understanding as essential tools in shaping communities, and making informed decisions. To accomplish that, the CHS has collected more than 4 million manuscripts, graphics, books, artifacts, and other historical materials related to Connecticut’s social, cultural, and family history – which are available to the public onsite at One Elizabeth Street in Hartford, off-site at other locations, and online.

Smithsonian Affiliations (, established in 1996, is a national outreach program that develops long-term collaborative partnerships with museums, education, and cultural organizations to enrich communities with Smithsonian resources.

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