Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum
295 West Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06850 - United States
The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum was built by LeGrand Lockwood, one of America’s first millionaires, a railroad baron, Treasurer of the NY Stock Exchange, an avid art collector, and the personification of a new American aristocracy. His summer residence was one of the first “chateauesque-style” houses ever erected in the United States and a technological marvel of its time; it had indoor hot and cold plumbing, gas lighting, ventilation, and a central heating system that burned one ton of coal a day.
The mission of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is to preserve and restore this unique architectural treasure, while enriching communities through public programs that illustrate our nation’s mid to late 19th-century heritage. To continue to energize this magnificent National Historic Landmark, the Museum envisions programs where the past converges with present-day interests and aspirations, reaching out to local residents as well as people from all across the world, and connecting today’s audiences with the history, artistic legacy, and the humanities of the Victorian era.
The Museum's approach to programming is based on strengthening communities, building dialogues, creating a space that is all-inclusive and accessible, and collaborating with stakeholders both locally, regionally, and nationally to serve the needs of our communities, while preserving this National Historic Landmark for generations to come. In 2017, the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum won a prestigious national award from the American Association of State and Local History (AASLH) for the exhibition titled, "The Stairs Below: The Mansion’s Domestic Servants, 1868-1938" as well as an Award of Merit from the Connecticut League of History Organizations for the exhibition, "From Corsets to Suffrage: Victorian Women Trailblazers." In addition to its rich history and architecture, this landmark has also deeply penetrated pop culture. Featured in A&E’s documentary, “America’s Castles,” the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum has also appeared in the Partridge Family’s comic books, “House of Dark Shadows” from the 1970s, and both of Hollywood’s sci-fi, “Stepford Wives.”
On Sat. Sept. 17, 12-4 p.m., Museum Day visitors will be able to view the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum's new exhibition, "Making It Last: Sustainable Fashion in Victorian America". As popular historical dramas such as "Bridgerton" and "Dickinson" have recently piqued public interest in period costumes, and Eco-fashion is currently a hot topic of discussion, "Making It Last" explores the recycling philosophy of the 19th century, as well as the dangerous practices used to create the magnificent gowns worn by high society. It discusses Victorian-era clothing care and fashionable materials, drawing comparisons to today’s companies that support sustainability, while also highlighting some of the 19th century’s hazardous practices, including the use of chemicals and metals such as arsenic and mercury in the manufacturing of popular textiles, faux flowers, and statement hats.
Participation in Museum Day is open to any tax-exempt or governmental museum or cultural venue on a voluntary basis. Smithsonian magazine encourages museum visitation, but is not responsible for and does not endorse the content of the participating museums and cultural venues, and does not subsidize museums that participate.