Hotchkiss Fyler House is open for the season

The Torrington Historical Society, located at 192 Main Street, is open for the season and will remain open through October 31st. The Society is home to three cultural attractions: the Hotchkiss-Fyler House Museum, the permanent exhibit, No Place Like Home: The History of Torrington, and the Hendey Machine Shop exhibit Pursuit of Precision: The Hendey Machine Shop 1870-1954. The Hotchkiss-Fyler House Museum and the two exhibit areas are open to the public Wednesday – Saturday, 12-4 p.m.

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Fodor’s Guide to New England described the Hotchkiss-Fyler House Museum as “one of the better house museums in Connecticut”. Built in 1900, this grand Victorian mansion was commissioned by Orsamus and Mary Fyler and was designed by New Haven architect William H. Allen. The house was built by Hotchkiss Brothers Company, a Torrington firm. The Torrington Historical Society acquired the home in 1956 when Gertrude Fyler Hotchkiss, daughter of the original owners, bequeathed the house and its contents to the Society.

Today, visitors to the Hotchkiss-Fyler House Museum can see the home as it was when last occupied by Gertrude Fyler Hotchkiss. This grand home is rich in details: mahogany paneling, ornate carvings, stenciled walls, murals, parquet floors and ornamental plaster. Family furnishings include impressive collections of porcelain, glass and oriental carpets as well as paintings by Ammi Phillips, Winfield Scott Clime, E. I. Couse, George Lawrence Nelson and Albert Herter. Guided tours of the house museum are available for $5 per person; children 12 and under are free. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 12-4; the last tour is at 3:30 p.m.

Hotchkiss Fyler House Museum, Torrington CT

The Torrington History Museum, adjacent to the Hotchkiss-Fyler House Museum, contains an award-winning permanent exhibit, No Place Like Home: The History of Torrington. This self-guided exhibit explores the city’s history while showcasing photographs and artifacts from the Society’s collection. Audio and video components and hands-on interactive stations are featured in this exhibit. Admission is $2; children 12 and under are free. Another exhibit, Pursuit of Precision: The Hendey Machine Company 1870-1954, is located in the Carriage House. This exhibit features an operational belt-driven machine shop, a video kiosk, and a photographic history of the Hendey Machine Company, a former Torrington manufacturer of lathes, shapers and milling machines. Admission is free.

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The John H. Thompson Memorial Library houses archives pertaining to Torrington history. Researchers may visit the library Wednesday-Friday 1-4, or by appointment. For more information about the Society or to become a member, please visit www.torringtonhistoricalsociety.org or contact the Society at (860) 482-8260.

Walls of Color: The Murals of Hans Hofmann at the Bruce Museum

This spring and summer the Bruce Museum located on One Museum Drive in Greenwich will be awash in the vibrant hues of
Abstract Expressionist Hans Hofmann.

Walls of Color: The Murals of Hans Hofmann, is the first ever exhibition to focus on the artist’s varied and under-appreciated public
mural projects that will be on view at the Bruce Museum through September 6. The show will then travel to The Patricia
and Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University, Miami, FL (October 10, 2015 to January 3, 2016), and to the Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC (January 22 to April 10, 2016).

Awakening Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) Awakening, 1947 Oil on canvas, 59 ¼  x 40 ¼ in. Private Collection Photograph by Paul Mutino  Works by Hans Hofmann used with permission of the Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust
Awakening
Hans Hofmann (1880-1966)
Awakening, 1947
Oil on canvas, 59 ¼ x 40 ¼ in.
Private Collection
Photograph by Paul Mutino
Works by Hans Hofmann used with permission of the Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust

A towing figure among the New York School painters and one of the most important teachers and theoretician of the Abstract
Expressionist movement, Hans Hoffman is well known for his dynamic approach to color. The centerpiece of Walls of Color: The Murals of Hans Hofmann will be nine oil studies by Hofmann,each seven feet tall, for the redesign of the Peruvian city of Chimbote. This was Hofmann’s extraordinary collaboration, in 1950, with Catalan architect José Luis Sert – the man who designed the
Spanish Pavilion at the Paris World’s Fair in 1937, for which Picasso’s great mural Guernica was conceived. Although never realized, this visionary project was to include a huge mosaic wall – a freestanding bell tower in the town center – designed by Hofmann, which would incorporate not only his own highly evolved notions of Abstract Expressionist visual dynamics, but also forms symbolic of traditional Peruvian culture, religion and history.

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Although now nearly forgotten, Hofmann also created two huge public murals in Manhattan. In 1956, for the developer William Kaufman, and in collaboration with the noted pioneer modernist architect William Lescaze, Hofmann created an astonishing, brilliantly colored mosaic mural, wrapped around the elevator bank in the main entrance hall of the office building at 711 Third Avenue. Two years later, in 1958, commissioned by the New York City Board of Education, Hofmann created a 64-foot long and
11-foot tall mosaic-tile mural for the High School of Printing (now the High School of Graphic Arts Communication) on West 49th Street.
These large scale stunning works will be brought back to life at the Bruce Museum via varied painted studies, mosaic maquettes, photos, and ephemera – as well as studies for a mural for an unrealized New York apartment house of the same period – which will show Hofmann’s working methods.

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A scholarly catalogue has been created for the exhibition, with a foreword from the Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust, and essays by Curator Kenneth Silver and Mary McLeod, Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University. Public programming planned for the exhibition includes the 2015 Bob and Pam Goergen Lecture Series, with lectures by Curator Kenneth E. Silver on Tuesday, May 5; Stacey Gershon, principal at Stacey Gershon Fine Art/MLG Art Advisory on Thursday, June 11; and Mary McLeod, Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation, Columbia University, on Thursday, June 25. All lectures will be held at the Museum and will begin at 7:30 p.m.

About the Bruce Museum
The Bruce Museum is a museum of art and science and is located at One Museum Drive in Greenwich, Connecticut. The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm; closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for students up to 22 years, $6 for seniors and free for members and children less than five years. Individual admission is free on Tuesday. Free on-site parking is available and the Museum is accessible to individuals with disabilities. For additional information, call the Bruce Museum at (203) 869-0376 or visit the website at http://brucemuseum.org. For area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

National Train Day and Mother’s Day at the Danbury Railway Museum

The Danbury Railway Museum has joined in the celebration of National Train Day on Saturday, May 9. At the Danbury Railway Museum this promises to be a day full of educational activities and FREE train rides for the whole family. The fun will begin at 10:00am and end at 4:00pm. Museum admission is $6.00 for adults; $5.00 for seniors; $4.00 for ages 3-12; under 3, free. However, current and former railroad employees will receive free museum admission (proper ID required). Trains will begin running hourly at 10:30 with the last train departing at 2:30.

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The museum’s Rail Yard Local will be operating — a short trip on a vintage train pulled by a 68 year old locomotive, with locomotive cab rides also available. As a National Train Day gift to all the friends of the Danbury Railroad, all train rides will be free on this day! As a special educational treat, periodically during the day, demonstrations of railroad signaling and coupling/uncoupling train cars will take place, and other educational talks will be given. In addition, the historic New Haven Railroad Cedar Hill forge is expected to be operating with a blacksmith making various items, and train riders will have an opportunity to take a spin on the operating turntable, followed by a tour of the water tower pump house.

In the Danbury museum building, visitors can explore railroad history exhibits, operating electric train layouts, static model displays of the station and railyard, many one-of-a-kind artifacts of railroading history, a wonderful gift shop, a coloring table and other children’s activities, and many other items of interest. The museum’s Research Library will hold a used book and model sale with some great bargains. Outside in the historic railyard, guests will find walk-through exhibits, and a vast assortment of train cars and locomotives –
many that ran in Danbury during its railroading heyday.

On Sunday, May 10, the Danbury Railway Museum is offer free rides on the Rail yard local to commemorate –Mother’s Day. Trains will run from 12 noon to 4 p.m.

The Danbury Railway Museum is a non-profit organization, staffed solely by volunteers, and is dedicated to the preservation of, and education about, railroad history. The museum is located in the restored 1903 Danbury Station and rail yard at 120 White Street, Danbury, CT. For further information, visit the Web site at http://www.danburyrail.org, or call the museum at 203-778-8337.

For area information www.litchfieldhills.com

Catch the BIG ONE at the Riverton Fishing Derby on the Farmington River

April 11, the official opening of the fishing season in the Nutmeg State is the day when fly-fishing aficionados from near and far flock to the Annual Riverton Fishing Derby in the Riverton section of Barkhamsted, located in the beautiful Litchfield Hills.

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The day starts before daybreak with a hearty breakfast beginning at 4 a.m. at the Riverton Fire Department on 3 Riverton Rd. in the center of town. Breakfast, lunch and snacks will be available at the Riverton General Store located in the center of town in a mid.-19th century building that is the hub of activity for this village. Green mountain coffee, made to order sandwiches, homemade soups, chili, salad and pastries are just some of the things offered here. For more information on Riverton General Store www.rivertongeneralstore.com.

This exciting Litchfield Hills event takes place on April 11th on the West branch of the Farmington River, a Nationally designated “Wild and Scenic” river that is known to host an abundance of rainbow, brown and brook trout. As a matter of fact, on Friday afternoon before this event, over 100 fish are purchased and released into the Farmington River adding even more incentive to catch the “big one.” The contest, complete with prizes, begins at 6 a.m. and lasts for about four hours, ending at 10 a.m. and it’s all-free; and there is no registration or fee required.

The public is always welcome to attend this event and to cheer on their favorite fisherman. Last year some 500 enthusiasts participated in the derby. An even bigger crowd is expected this year. Prizes include items donated by local merchants as well as by Orvis, and Cabela’s. The coveted grand prize is a village chair of Riverton donated by the Hitchcock Chair Company. The Hitchcock Chair Company Store is located in Riverton and stocks an excellent selection of this classic hand stenciled furniture. For information about the Hitchcock Chair Company visit www.hitchcockchair.com.

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A bit further upriver a section of the flowing waters especially stocked for the occasion, is set aside for the “Kid’ Derby”. Any tot under 16 who is able to hold a fishing pole, can join in the fun. Special prizes are awarded to kids.

To find out more about the Fishing Derby and other events in Riverton, visit http://rivertonct.com.

The easiest way of getting a fishing license is to visit the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s online sportsmen licensing at https://ct.outdoorcentral.net/InternetSales. Fishing licenses are also available from town clerks and this website has a complete listing of town clerks and businesses that sell fishing licenses. The website also has a weekly fishing report that runs from opening day through the end of November. The report is a summary of fresh and saltwater fishing activity in the state as reported by tackle stores around the state.

For more information on Litchfield Hills, where to stay, dine and what to see and do visit www.litchfieldhills.com.

My Sky at Stepping Stones Museum for Children

The Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk has a fabulous new exhibit through Memorial Day called My Sky that is funded by NASA and created through a partnership between Boston Children’s Museum and Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

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My Sky is an exhibit about the universe. But it is also about each of us, and how the sky above impacts our lives here on Earth. The sky is, after all, universal. It is something we all share. My Sky invites children and adults to explore the Sun, the Moon and the stars together in an immersive, inviting environment. Families are encouraged to “look up” not only when they visit the exhibit, but also in their everyday lives. And My Sky gives families the chance to practice science skills like observing, communicating, noticing patterns, predicting, imagining and more — science skills that are fundamental to astronomy, and skills that scientists and engineers use every day.

The sky is also a source of endless inspiration for people from all walks of life, and My Sky introduces us to a few of these people. From scientists and astronomers who work to investigate and understand the universe; to artists and sculptors who create monuments and representations of the awesome and the serene; to writers and musicians who capture, through words and melody, the feelings that arise when we gaze up at the Moon, or stare silently at the stars. The universe is inspiring. It is mind boggling. It is full of wonder. My Sky invites you to feel all of that.

For more information http://www.steppingstonesmuseum.org. For more area event information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.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