Litchfield Historical Society

Litchfield Historical Society

7 South Street, Litchfield, CT 06759 - United States

860-567-4501

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Free Everyday

The Litchfield History Museum exhibits the evolution of the town of Litchfield, CT from its settlement in 1719 to today. Through changing exhibits, artifacts and archives, as well as hands-on areas, visitors can explore the diverse history of the town. Litchfield was a bustling commercial,political, and educational center and is a case study for the evolution of New England towns following the Revolutionary War. The town’s history includes that of the center village, Bantam, East Litchfield, Milton, Northfield, and pre-1850s Morris. The Historical Society’s artifacts and archives document all areas. The exhibits are on the first floor of the Noyes Memorial Building.

The lower level is home to the Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library.

Exhibits

Sold, Made, & Grown in Litchfield:

Litchfield’s local businesses play a vital role within the community. As commercial entities, they provide food, clothing, employment, and the other necessities of daily life. As places that bring people together, they also become focal points for memories and experiences. On a larger level, these businesses form an integral part of Litchfield’s identity by fostering local pride, serving as markers of change, and documenting the passage of time. As part of the town’s 300th Anniversary celebration, Sold, Made, & Grown in Litchfield examines some of the local businesses that helped shape Litchfield’s history, the town’s unique character, and the community’s shared memories. The exhibit showcases only a fraction of the many stores, industries, and farms that are part of this story. Visitors are invited to share their memories and reflect on the role of local businesses in their community.

By the Virtue of its Citizens: Educating a New Nation at Sarah Pierce’s Academy:

The Litchfield Female Academy enrolled more than 3,000 students over a forty-one year period from seventeen states and territories as well as Canada and the West Indies. This new exhibit explores the innovative educational philosophy of the school’s founder, Sarah Pierce and her school’s impact on her students and women’s education.

Her curriculum was driven by the post-revolutionary rhetoric of Republican Motherhood, which stressed the responsibility of women to provide the early intellectual and moral training of their children. She deeply believed in the intellectual equality of the sexes, and her students learned practical subjects, such as mathematics, geology, and astronomy, as well as ornamental lessons of painting, sewing, and music.

The proximity of the Litchfield Law School, where nearly 1,000 young men would learn to be leaders in politics, education, and other spheres made for a lively social and intellectual community and created a vast social network for students to access throughout their lives. The young women and men who studied with Pierce became reformers, leaders, and teachers who worked to improve women’s education and society as a whole. Items from the Litchfield Historical Society’s extensive collection of artifacts and archives from the Litchfield Female Academy will be on display, as well as several decorative arts pieces on loan from regional institutions.

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