Cider, Cookies and Shopping @ Fairfield Museum and History Center

This weekend, the Fairfield Museum and History Center located on Beach Street is offering several exciting promotions. On Saturday, November 30 they are celebrating small business Saturday by offering a card special.  Folks visiting the museum gift shop, which is chock full of goodies who purchase five packs of cards by Onion Hill by Kassie Foss will get one free! 

The fun ramps up on Sunday, December 1 when the museum store will give visitors a reusable Fairfield Museum shopping bag and a limited edition Woodberry pewter ornament with every purchase while supplies last. 

To add to the festivities, the Fairfield Museum and History Center is offering free cookies and cider all weekend long. The shop is located at 370 Beach Street and is open from 10 am to 4 pm with plenty of on-site parking.  Another perk is that the museum never charged sales tax! 

Save the date for the Holiday Express Train opening night on December 6 from 5 pm to 8 pm that is kicked off with the tree lighting on the Fairfield Green. The hours for the Holiday Express Train are Monday – Thursday 10am – 1pm, Special Friday Evening Hours: 10am – 7pm, Saturdays & Sundays: 10am – 4pm, December 23, 24, 26, 30 and 31: 10am – 4pm, Closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day

Native American Holiday Arts and Crafts Market

Litchfield Hills is dotted with many holiday fairs and festivals. For those that are looking for something really unusual, take a trip to the Institute for American Indian Studies on 38 Curtis Road in Washington Connecticut to shop for authentic Native American Arts and Crafts.

At the Institute’s annual Native American Holiday Arts and Crafts Market you will find a wide array of unusual holiday gifts from local Native American crafters. Visitors can shop for a wide variety of Native American crafts, jewelry, and artwork. Among the more unusual items are beautifully handwoven baskets from colorful reeds and bark, hand-painted decorative gourds, authentically made Native American pottery, rattles, and elegant handcrafted flutes.

All the items found here are offered at a variety of price points so no matter what your budget is, you might very well find that perfect gift item. In addition to finding something truly unusual, visitors will have the opportunity to chat with Native American crafters as they create these unique and beautiful items.

The Native American Holiday Arts and Crafts Market is taking place at the Institute on November 30 and December 1; December 7 and 8, and December 14 and 15. This special Native American Holiday Market will be open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 12 pm to 5 p.m. The entrance to the Holiday Market is free!

About The Institute for American Indian Studies
Located on 15 acres of woodland acres the Institute For American Indian Studies preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. They have a 16th c. Algonquian Village, Award-Winning Wigwam Escape, and a museum with temporary and permanent displays of authentic artifacts from prehistory to the present that allows visitors to foster a new understanding of the world and the history and culture of Native Americans. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road, Washington, CT.

Hat Madness @ New Canaan Historical Society

The history of hats is so long and has been part of our wardrobe for thousands of years. In time many designs have appeared and disappeared, only to reappear again. In the 16th century, women began to wear structured hats, similar to those that were worn by men. In the 18th century, milliners started appearing, usually, women, that created hats and bonnets but also designing overall styles. Materials of the highest quality and best hats came from the Italian city of Milan. That is where the term “milliner” comes from.

With this in mind, the New Cannan Historical Society has organized an exhibition from November 15-March 1, 2020 called Hat Madness. “Mad as a Hatter” was a term used to describe dementia experienced by men in the hat-making business. The mercury used in the production of felt, which was then used for hats, caused the problem. In the 19th century, the Danbury Hatters experienced what was then called the “Danbury Shakes.” Without labor laws to protect them, these workers struggled to keep up with production as they lost their minds.

In Hat Madness, the New Canaan Museum & Historical Society opens up its extensive clothing and textile collection to explore the history of hats, hat design and hat-making. From the simple bonnets worn in Colonial times to stunning pieces of art that were popular in the 1920s to the “Pussy Cap” of the 2017 Women’s March, this exhibition spans more than 200 years. Period garments and related accessories will also be on display.

The show is curated by Penny Havard and runs through March 1, 2020. Opening Reception Friday,

Plum Pudding Workshop in Westport!

Cooking and dining with friends and family during the Holiday Season that begins with Thanksgiving and ends with New Year’s Eve is a much loved Connecticut tradition. Many nonprofit organizations, historic house museums and nature centers host holiday art and craft festivals in addition to workshops on wreath making and ornament creation. The Westport Historical Society has taken the holiday festivities one step further by offering something perfect for food lovers and those that also love to learn about the history of food.

So, this year to get in a holiday state of mind, head to the Westport Historical Society to learn about the dessert says holidays – Plum Pudding! On December 4, 2019 from 7 pm – 9 pm join the Executive Director, Ramin Ganeshram, a trained chef, food historian and award-winning cookbook author to talk about the history of plum pudding and to make your own special mix of brandy-soaked fruit and pudding mix to take home and bake or give as a gift!

This delectably moist, dessert, heady with the flavor of brandy, is a Victorian tradition that recalls the charming holidays of yore and is sure to be a modern-day treat.

Contemporary Artists/Traditional Forms: Chinese Brushwork @ Bruce Museum

A fabulous new show is on exhibition at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich through December 28 and features the U.S. debut of 15 pieces of contemporary Chinese brushwork gifted to the Town of Greenwich as part of the 2019 U.S.-China Art and Culture Exchange. The exhibition introduces visitors to the basic tools and concepts that inform these works of art and presents these pieces in their historical and present-day contexts.

Also known as water-painting, brushwork has a long and illustrious history in China. The art form developed from the practice of calligraphy, or “Beautiful Writing,” sometime during the Han Dynasty (220-589 AD). Traditionally, brushwork was not practiced by professional artists but by amateurs colloquially known as scholar artists, who prided themselves on their mastery of calligraphy and incorporated painting into their poems. Today the legacy of the scholar artist lives on in China and in the creation of these contemporary works of art.

This exhibition highlights the connections between calligraphy and traditional brushwork by exploring the time-honored practice of water-painting by contemporary scholar artists. In the traditional calligraphic practice, artists copy the masterworks of previous generations in order to learn to create their own works. Each of the artists in the exhibition uses an established language of brushstrokes, natural images, and color washes to express their own unique point of view.

Celebrate National Indian Heritage Month @ Institute for American Indian Studies With Annawon Weeden

November is National Indian Heritage Month and many institutions nationwide join in paying tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans. Each year, the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington Connecticut organizes special programs that highlight the rich cultural diversity and traditions of Native American communities through hands-on activities, arts and crafts, exhibits, music, and interactive programs.

This year’s highlight of National Indian Heritage Month at the Institute for American Indian Studies will be a highly interactive program by actor, activist, dancer, and Tribal mentor, Annawon Weeden. This special program will take place at 1 p.m. on November 16. Weeden is the founder of the First Light Foundation whose mission is to highlight the importance of preserving and celebrating diversity to reinforce the identity of each individual served.

Persuasive and powerful, authentic and imaginative, the stories and performance of Annawon Weeden reveal the unexpected ways Native Americans are embedded in our cultural identity as well as in our pop culture, sometimes accurately, and sometimes erroneously. Drawing on his Mashpee Wampanoag, Narragansett, and Pequot lineage, Weeden will explore the pre- European Tribal history of the People of the Dawn and share his personal experiences and insights. Through this interactive program, visitors will walk through time with Weeden and discover that Native American cultures are alive and well today, thriving and evolving across the United States. This program helps to foster a better understanding of Native American culture and traditions while dispelling some of the historical misinterpretations.

About The Institute for American Indian Studies

Located on 15 acres of woodland acres the Institute For American Indian Studies preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. They have a 16th c. Algonquian Village, Award-Winning Wigwam Escape, and a museum with temporary and permanent displays of authentic artifacts from prehistory to the present that allows visitors to foster a new understanding of the world and the history and culture of Native Americans. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road, Washington, CT.

About Annawon Weeden

Weeden is an enrolled member of his mother’s Mashpee Wampanoag tribal community. He currently works in the MPTN Cultural Resource Department as the Eastern Woodland song/dance instructor for his father’s Mashantucket Pequot Tribal community.

Growing up on the Narragansett reservation he was instructed on the traditional dances and customs of New England’s Native American Communities. As an adult, Weeden has developed a comprehensive knowledge of the vast diversity of native customs and traditions.

In October 2016, Congressman James Langevin took special notice of Weeden and decided to commemorate the life efforts of Weeden awarding him with a Congressional Honor as Culture Bearer for the entire New England Region.

Weeden’s knowledge of indigenous people and his ability to share his tribal culture is highly sought because it educational and inspiring.