WASHINGTON — Gunn Historical Museum announces the opening of a new long term exhibit entitled, “Washington, Connecticut — An American Story.” An opening reception will take place on Saturday, August 17 from 1 to 3 p.m. The exhibit is the culmination of years of work by museum staff, volunteers, and community members who have shared their personal collections with the Museum. Over 15,000 artifacts, photos, and documents from Washington’s rich past were examined and evaluated.
The exhibit focuses on all villages of Washington — Washington Green, Washington Depot, New Preston, Marbledale and Woodville. Some of the topics featured include Native Americans, colonists, forming the town, slavery and abolition, businesses, agriculture, Revolutionary War, immigrants, the flood of 1955 and more.
“This collaborative community undertaking touches on the major turning points, giving visitors an understanding of the unique people, places, and events that have shaped the town we know and love today.” said Curator Stephen Bartkus. He envisions the long-term exhibit will inspire residents to preserve and share the history of their families.
“Washington, Connecticut — An American Story” was made possible by a $100,000 award from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development’s Good to Great Grant. Administered by DECD’s Offices of Arts and Historic Preservation, grants are awarded to eligible organizations that promote science, art, culture, or the history of Connecticut. Good to Great was created in 2014 to fund improvements that will significantly enhance cultural and historic sites and the way people enjoy them. Specifically, the program targets smaller and mid-sized cultural organizations that have received limited state funding in the past.
Gunn Historical Museum is dedicated to telling the history of Washington. It began in 1899 when the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution opened the Judea Historical Room in a house on the Washington Green. When the Gunn Memorial Library was built in 1908 the collection was moved across the street into the lower level of the library. In 1965, June Willis bequeathed her house to the library and the museum soon moved next door.
The Museum has many volunteer opportunities for adults and students. Some of the opportunities include museum tour guide, research volunteer, graphic designer, and cemetery tour volunteer. Students can earn community service hours by volunteering. The museum continues to collect and catalog artifacts, partners with local schools on historical education programs and fulfills research requests.
Gunn Historical Museum is located at 5 Wykeham Road, Washington, at the intersection of Rt. 47 and Wykeham Road. For more information go to www.gunnmuseum.org or call 860-868-7756.