A Lecture on Victorian Era Jewelry to Launches the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum’s Lecture Series


On Wednesday, May 21, at 11 a.m., the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum located at 295 West Avenue in Norwalk, CT will launch its 2014 Lecture Series. CT Historic New England’s Associate Curator Laura Johnson will present the illustrated talk, Mottos, Messages and Gem Lore in Victorian Jewelry and introduce the messages, both hidden and overt, in Victorian gems. From the many meanings of turquoise to “fide” rings and the language of flowers, men and women alike in the nineteenth century used gems and ornaments to whisper sweet nothings or softly spell out their devotion. Lecture attendees are invited to bring their own Victorian jewelry for expert identification (please note- not for appraisal).

Laura Johnson is a specialist in American material life, focusing on identity construction and consumption. She is particularly interested in the intersections of memory and identity in American adornment. Ms. Johnson is currently working on an exhibition for Historic New England entitled Mementos: Jewelry of Life and Love, scheduled to open in 2016 but also works on needlework, children’s clothing, revival textiles, basketry, and Native American material culture. She received her Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization from the University of Delaware and an M.A. in Early American Culture from the Winterthur Program.


This is the first in a series of lectures entitled, Lockwood-Mathews Mansion: Seventy-four years of Culture – Art, Life, and Love, 1864-1938 by curators and experts in the field of Victorian era material life. The lectures are $25 for members, $30 for non-members per session. A discount package for all seven lectures can be purchased in advance for $150 for members/ $180 for non-members. The price includes lecture, lunch and a Mansion tour. Lunch is courtesy of Michael Gilmartin’s Outdoor Cookers. The chair of the Lecture Committee is Mimi Findlay of New Canaan. Photo credits: Collection of Historic New England and photography by Andrew Davis.

The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is a National Historic Landmark. For more information on schedules and programs please visit: www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com, e-mail info@lockwoodmathewsmansion.com, or call 203-838-9799.

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