Hartford, CT (January 3, 2012)
For the first time, the Connecticut Historical Society will be offering regularly scheduled guided behind-the-scenes tours of its vast and typically unseen collection as well as many hidden areas of the 1928 house located on Elizabeth Street in Hartford, once owned by inventor Curtis H. Veeder. Beginning January 14, and every second Saturday thereafter, monthly tours will be offered shedding light behind-the-scenes and into the life and home of Veeder.
While much of the public is aware of the historical society’s major exhibits such as Making Connecticut or the current New Life for Connecticut Trees, relatively few know the extent of the objects, manuscripts, and images protected within the CHS. With over 3.5 million items the CHS collection is nationally-renowned, especially in the areas of clothing and textiles, furniture, unique hand-written manuscripts and diaries, prints, photographs, tavern signs, early children’s books, and tools. The new 45 minute Behind-the-Scenes Collections Tour will explore many of these objects located in collection storage areas.
“Like most museums and special collection libraries, 95% of our collection is not on display due to a lack of space and preservation needs,” according to CHS Executive Director Kate Steinway. “People have inquired about seeing and understanding both the elements of our historic house as well as the collections in storage, and so we are excited to give access to these areas normally closed to the public.”
The second tour, Secrets of the Veeder House, will focus on the historical building itself. CHS is housed in what was once the home of inventor and businessman Curtis H. Veeder (1862-1943), who started out as a draftsman at the Pope Manufacturing Company and later designed a cyclometer (used to record distance traveled on a bicycle), which gave rise to his own company. In 1895, he founded the Veeder Manufacturing Company, which made speedometers for automobiles, counters for machine-guns, jukeboxes, vending machines, taxi meters, ammunition counters, and other specialized equipment. In 1928, Veeder’s Company merged with the Root Company of Bristol, CT to become Veeder-Root Inc. which is still in operation today and continues to produce counting devices. His 1928 Colonial Revival home with European influences, located at 1 Elizabeth St. in the West End of Hartford, was a luxurious residence, complete with its own car-wash, an elevator, built-in vacuum system, and separate servants’ quarters, all of which will be explored on the tour, along with some of the house’s unique architectural details.
Behind-the-Scenes Collections Tours and Secrets of the Veeder House tours will occur on the second Saturday of every month, beginning January 14, 2012, at 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm, respectively. Both tours will be free with general admission tickets (from $4-$8). CHS is located at 1 Elizabeth Street in Hartford. To learn more, visit www.chs.org.