Long Term Exhibit, ‘American Story,’ Set at Historical Museum

A new, long-term exhibit titled Washington, Connecticut – An American Story, will contain artifacts such as this photo of Rebecca Gunnarson and friend in Washington Depot, circa 1930. The exhibit will be on display in the Gunn Historical Museum 5 Wykeham Rd., Washington.

WASHINGTON — Gunn Historical Museum will open of a new, long-term exhibit titled Washington, Connecticut – An American Story with a reception from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, August 17, at 5 Wykeham Rd.

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.

More than 15,000 artifacts, photos, and documents from Washington’s past were examined and evaluated.

The exhibit focuses on all villages of Washington, including the Washington Green, Washington Depot, New Preston, Marbledale, and Woodville.

Some of the topics in the exhibit are Native Americans, Colonists, Forming the Town, Slavery and Abolition, Businesses, Agriculture, Revolutionary War, Immigrants, and Flood of 1955.

Curator Stephen Bartkus said, “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.”

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 and was founded 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 and continues to collect and catalog artifacts, partners with local schools on historical education programs and fulfills research requests.

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