Annual Maple Sugaring March 7 at the Institute for American Indian Studies

The Institute for American Indian Studies will present its Annual Maple Sugaring Festival on Saturday, March 7, 2015 from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. What makes this Festival unique is Jim Dinafor who will present a full Native American Sugar-making demonstration in the Institute’s outdoor Algonkian Village.

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Inside the Museum and Institute, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, staff members will serve pancakes with delicious local maple syrup. Fun activities for the children will run from 1:00 – 3:00 pm.

The Native American lore of sweet maple syrup is fascinating. The Mohegans believed that the melting snow caused the spring sap to run in the maples. They considered the sap to be the dripping oil of the Great Celestial Bear, who had been wounded by the winter sky hunters – according to their own Pleiades story. The bear, sometimes becoming the celestial bear and embodying the Big Dipper, repeats itself through many Indian origin stories.

Native People discovered in their woodlands the sources of seasoning and sweetening medicines and foods. Long before recorded history, their investigations unlocked the secrets of extracting many dietary substances from their natural environments. Lost in pre-history are the earliest experiences that led to “sugaring”.
It was usual for whole families to participate in the labor of sugaring, although in some tribes the women went first to the maple forests to make any necessary repairs to the camp and sugaring utensils. Among the Iroquois and the Ojibwa Indians, the women owned the maple groves, which they inherited through their maternal line. Seensibaukwut is the Ojibwa word for maple sugar, which means, “drawn from the wood.”

Tree sap is essentially water absorbed by the roots and mixed with some of the stored tree sugars. Sap will begin to run upwards from the roots on warm late-winter days followed by freezing nights. These conditions usually begin in late February in southern New England.

Once the sap had been collected, it needed to be boiled down (reduced). The sap was then put into a hollowed out log where fiery hot stones were placed into it. The purpose of the hot stones was to cause the sap to boil. This may have needed to be done several times to obtain the correct consistency.

This was the traditional “Native” way.

Please call for tickets 860-868-0518. Advance tickets $15 Adults/ $10 Children. For more information visit http://www.iaismuseum.org/. for area information www.litchifeldhills.com

Behind the scenes at the Palace Theatre in Waterbury

Explore nine decades of Palace Theater history and backstage mystique during the Waterbury performing art center’s upcoming guided tour on Saturday, Feb. 28 from 11 a.m. to 12:15pm.

Theater View from Stage

Each Palace Theater tour is approximately one hour and fifteen minutes and is led by a team of Palace Theater Ambassadors, a specially trained group of engaging volunteers well-versed in the theater’s rich history, architectural design and entertaining anecdotal information. In addition to exploring the theater, Poli Club and lobby spaces, patrons will also have the opportunity to walk across the stage, visit the star dressing rooms, and view the venue’s hidden, backstage murals — artwork painted and signed on the theater walls by past performers and Broadway touring companies.

Due to the tours’ increasing popularity, reservations are required in advance. Each tour is $5.00 per person and single tickets for individuals or groups of 10 or less can be purchased online at www.palacetheaterct.org. Larger groups are asked to contact the Box Office at 203-346-2000 to book their reservations. A special boxed lunch and tour package prepared by Riverhouse Catering is also available for groups of 15 or more and cost $17 per person. Reservations for the lunch package need to be made at least three days in advance of the desired tour date.

Built in 1920 and recorded in the National Register of Historic Places, the Palace Theater is known for its grand architectural design. Designed in a Renaissance Revival style, the building features an eclectic mix of Greek, Roman, Arabic and Federal motifs along with marble staircases, gilded domed ceilings, cut glass chandeliers and intricate plaster relief details that make the Palace one of the most striking performing arts spaces in the state.

About the Palace Theater
The Palace’s primary purpose is to revitalize the Greater Waterbury community through the presentation of the performing arts and educational initiatives in collaboration with area cultural and educational institutions. Its mission is to preserve and operate the historic Palace Theater as a performing arts center and community gathering place that provides a focal point of cultural activity and educational outreach for diverse audiences. For Bank, Comcast, Ion Bank, Shaker Automotive Group, Crystal Rock, St. Mary’s Hospital, Bank of America, City of Waterbury, Waterbury Hospital, Powerstation Events, and Worx.

For more area event information www.litchfieldhills.com

Dust and Shadow at Sharon Historical Society

The Sharon Historical Society located on 18 Main Street in the quaint village of Sharon Connecticut in the northern Litchfield Hills has curated a new art show, Dust and Shadow: Paintings by Judy Albright.

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Dust and Shadow features pastel still life and landscape paintings by local artist Judy Albright. Albright is intrigued by the “spaces between and behind objects” and often features the shadows of objects in her work. A quote from The Odes of Horace ,”Pulvis et umbra sumus. (We are but dust and shadow.)” inspired the focus of this exhibition. The exhibition is through March 7, 2015.

Albright teaches classes in drawing and painting at the Northlight Art Center in Sharon, CT. To see more of her work or for a schedule of classes visit www.judyalbrightart.com.

The Sharon Historical Society is open Wed. – Fri. 12 noon – 4 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. For more information visit http://sharonhist.org.

For event information on Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.com

Bethlehem CT’s Iconic March Farm – Season By Season

March Farms,located in Bethlehem Connecticut, in the heart of the Litchfield Hills, is an iconic Connecticut Farm with a rich heritage. On Thursday, Feb. 23 at 6:30 p.m., at the Gunn Memorial Library, author Nancy McMillian will lead a discussion and book signing on her new book, March Farm: Season by Season on a Connecticut Family Farm.

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March Farm in Bethlehem, CT is a 150-acre four-generation family farm that has weathered nearly 100 years of the vagaries of a life working the land. The book follows this local farm through an annual cycle of preparation and harvest, highlighting the individual members of the March family working on the farm. For more information on March Farm visit http://www.marchfarm.com.

Using photographs and essays, the farm is followed through four seasons and offer up-close views of farming life. Other essays present a wider perspective on the politics of food and farming. Accompanying recipes use the five crops the farm produces. Books will be available for purchase and for signing. For more information on the book, visit http://www.marchfarmthebook.com.

The snowdate is March 5 at 6:30 p.m.

Greenwich Historical Society – Over Here and Over There: The Popular Music of WWI

On February 26, 2015, 7:00 pm and Sunday, March 1, 2015, 4:00 pm the Greenwich Historical Society is presenting a program on music during WWII. The Society is located on 39 Strickland Road in Cos Cob. The event will take place in the Vanderbilt Education Center on the grounds of the Society. Tickets are $10 for members and $15 for nonmembers. Purchase tickets at http://greenwichhistory.org or call 203-869-6899, Ext. 10.

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Music played a key role in the development of popular opinion during WWI. Lyrics and sheet music art were often designed to influence public opinion As the political climate shifted from neutrality to support for the allies, so did mainstream music.

Prior to US involvement in 1917 many songs supported neutrality with more than one song invoking a mother’s love as a reason enough for a son to stay at home. After 1917, when the United States joined the conflict, patriotic themes became more popular.

Led by Stefanie Kies and Bea Crumbine, the program will juxtapose performances of period music with background information and slides. Also, performing are vocalist Dan Swartz and John Goldschmid on piano.

In honor of Black History Month – Torrington Historical Society

In recognition of Black History Month, the Torrington Historical Society presents Venture Smith’s Narrative: The Earliest Known Entirely African- American Work of Literature, a lecture by Chandler Saint, president of the Beecher House Center for the Study of equal rights. The program will take place on Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Torrington Historical Society, Carriage House Gallery on 192 Main St-Rear in Torrington and the Admission is free.

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Venture Smith, circa 1728-1805, was sold into bondage as a boy in Africa. He worked as a slave in America for a quarter-century. Over time he saved money from side jobs and from selling vegetables that he grew.

He eventually earned enough to purchase his freedom. During his remaining years, Venture transformed himself into a highly respected American citizen. In 1798, Smith dictated his life story and it was published in New London CT as The Life and Adventures of Venture, A Native of Africa.
During the last decade, Chandler Saint and a team of researchers have uncovered many details of Venture’s life through painstaking research.

The results of that research were first published in 2009 under the title: Making Freedom: The Extraordinary Life of Venture Smith written by Chandler Saint and George Krimsky. Since 2009, Saint and Krimsky have continued their research and discovered many more “interesting and curious passages” from the life of Venture Smith, which will be included in a soon to be published second edition of their work.

For this program, Chandler Saint will give an overview of the life of Venture Smith with particular emphasis on newly discovered aspects of Venture’s story. Historian Robert P. Forbes has written that this new volume, is an indispensable work for anyone interested in the African-American story…it is likely to emerge as the definitive reference tool about a life in bondage and the triumph of overcoming it.”

New at the Beardsley Zoo

The Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport Connecticut has new guests this winter. The rare and beautiful Amur leopards are now on exhibit. The pair of Amur leopards we received from the Copenhagen Zoo are now on exhibit. The male can be seen quite often perched on the rock in front of the exhibit. Both are beautiful cats. They hope to receive a breeding recommendation for this endangered species. To make room for this pair, they sent their female Amur leopard, Sofiya, to the Maryland Zoo.

Amur Leopard

Amur Leopard

The new year is bringing new animals to the Zoo. While many of them still need to go through their quarantine procedures or wait for their new exhibits to be completed, this year you will enjoy seeing a male Amur tiger from the Indianapolis Zoo, a male Pygmy marmoset from Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo and a female from Brevard Zoo, a male and female red wolf pair from the Wolf Center, three male vicuna from the Berlin Zoo,and a male and a female giant anteater from Dreher Park Zoo. Beardsley Zoo has also recently received two yellow-spotted turtles, a purple gallinule, three black-bellied whistling ducks and three giant river turtles.

As part of these moves, many made as part of accredited breeding programs for endangered and threatened species, the Zoo removed a male Amur tiger, two male and three female river otters, one male common marmoset, one male pygmy marmoset, and two male and three female red wolves.

This may seem like a lot, but they tend to relocate animals during cooler months when they will be most comfortable, so a lot of movement happens at once.

For more information about the Beardsley Zoo visit http://beardsleyzoo.org and for area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com