Curator for a day in Litchfield Hills and more

February is a busy month at the Litchfield History Museum. On February 22 for example, at 3pm a lecture, The Colonial Revival as Collective Memory and Consumer has been scheduled. The lecture will be presented by Thomas Denenberg, director of the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, VT. The development of a culture of consumption in the decades that bracketed the turn of the twentieth century created unprecedented opportunity for the dissemination of images, objects, and texts that engendered historical consciousness in the United States. Antiquarian activities, the province of social outliers, the wealthy, or the creative such as the painter Edward Lamson Henry (1841-1919), became normative behavior in the new middle-class America.

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Gathering, collecting, and sorting historical material culture, once an end unto itself in the nineteenth century, gave way to the creation of a widespread aesthetic that prized idealized “native” forms. Entrepreneurial individuals, including the minister-turned antimodern colporteur Wallace Nutting (1861-1941), employed the very modern platforms of advertising, publishing, department stores, and mail order merchandising to encourage and fulfill middle-class desires for objects and myths that answered contemporary social needs in an era of rapid economic and geographic change.

Often termed “the” Colonial Revival—an aesthetic assumed to be, monolithic, sui generis, and whole upon arrival, this illustrated lecture will look at the phenomenon as a complex and carefully constructed collective memory that matured over time. This program is free for members and $5 for non members. Register at registration@litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org.

If you have ever wondered what it’s really like to be a curator at a history museum, you are invited to shadow the curator of the societies collections on February 26 from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Participants will study artifacts from the Historical Society’s collections, get a behind-the-scenes peek at object storage, a hands-on experience with some of a curator’s day-to-day work, and assemble a hypothetical exhibit. Please register for this program by Tuesday, February 24. Non-members are required to pay the registration fee in advance of the event. Your registration will not be considered complete until we have received payment and the cost is $10 for members; $15 for non-members. Register at registration@litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org.

For more ideas about what to do and see in Litchfield Hills visit www.litchfieldhills.com

Mardi Gras 2015 at The New England Carousel Museum

Madri Gras also known as Fat Tuesday, refers to events of the Carnival celebrations beginning on or after Epiphany or King’s Day culminating on the day before ash Wednesday. Traditionally, this celebration reflects the practice of eating rich foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, but today, there are many related popular events associated with this including parades, wearing masks and costumes.

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The New England Carousel Museum on 95 Riverside Ave. in Bristol Connecticut is hosting a Louisiana-style evening on February 7, 2015 from 7 pm – 11 pm. This festive evening promises to chase away the winter doldrums and features music and dancing in the magnificent Museum ballroom. Along with a 50/50 raffle and live entertainment, there will be wine and bourbon tastings, BYOB and food a plenty! The evening festivities will culminate in the crowning of a king and queen of the ball.

Tickets are on sale at the Carousel Museum or you may order them by mail or phone. RSVP by February 1, 2015 by calling (860) 585-5411. The cost is $50 per person and pre-paid tables of 8 may be reserved. For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact The New England Carousel Museum at (860) 585-5411 or email info@thecarouselmuseum.org.

“Downton Abbey cooking classes” at The Silo

With the premiere of Season 5 of PBS’ enthralling Masterpiece miniseries, Downton Abbey, fans will be glued to their televisions for their next dose of crisis and intrigue. To celebrate the season kick-off, The Silo Cooking School at Hunt Hill Farm in New Milford is offering a “live” chance to experience some of the fun, culinary tastes and tradition of the post-Edwardian era depicted in the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants.

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On Saturday, January 10 at 6 p.m., and again on Sunday, January 11 at 11 a.m., the Silo is inviting both novice and experienced chefs to join Chef Catherine Felix for “Downton Abbey Dinner and Brunch.” The demonstration classes will feature an “Upstairs/Downstairs” menu based on the Downton Abbey series. Participants will dine on all the prepared courses.

Catherine is a Principal Chef for Unilever Foods, NA, with 25 years of experience in consumer product development. She has contributed to the success of numerous products such as Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Chip CookieDough Ice Cream, Wishbone Raspberry Hazelnut Vinaigrette, and the P.F. Chang line of frozen entrees. A former Food Editor of “Victorian Homes” magazine and 1980 graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, London, she has worked as a pastry chef, consultant, culinary educator and writer. She contributed the chapter on “The Wedding Breakfast” to Romantic Victorian Weddings, Then and Now and has appeared on numerous television food programs, including HGTV’s “A Christmas in Cape May with Kitty Bartholomew.”

Join Catherine as she discusses early 20th century table etiquette, and shares some of her collection of late 19th and early 20th century table-top antiques.

Saturday’s Downton Abbey Dinner includes: Cheese Straws; Oysters A La Russe; Ethel’s Salmon Mousse with Greens; Downstairs’ Lamb Stew; English Peas; Semolina Pudding; Lady Sybil’s Cake; and Crepes Suzettes.

Sunday’s Breakfast or Brunch menu consists of: Vichyssoise; Alfred’s Bouchees au Fromage – (Gougere with Cheese Filling); Lady Mary’s Post-Pig Rescue Scrambled Eggs; Mrs. Patmore’s Kedgeree; Shepherd’s Pie; Raspberry Meringue; and Creamy Rice Pudding.

The Silo Cooking School named Best Cooking School in Connecticut by Connecticut Magazine is located at Hunt Hill Farm, 44 Upland Road in New Milford. The school is part of the Smithsonian Institution affiliated Hunt Hill Farm Trust, a non-profit organization, which provides the public with diverse opportunities to explore the arts amid historic farm buildings and protected open space in the heart of Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills. The cost of the class is $90 per person. For more information and to register for the class, call (860) 355-0300 or visit http://www.hunthillfarmtrust.org. Registration is also available at The Silo during regular business hours. The Silo gallery and store are open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m.

For more event information on Litchfield Hills visit http://www.litchfieldhills.com/events/index.jsp

The Pequot War and the Founding of Fairfield

The Fairfield Museum and History Center presents a new exhibition, The Pequot War and the Founding of Fairfield, 1637-1639, on view through January 18, 2015, concluding a full year of exhibits, programs and events that celebrated Fairfield’s 375th anniversary.

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A collaboration with the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, this exhibit presents the story of the Pequot War in 1637, which led to Fairfield becoming established as an English settlement 375 years ago. Roger Ludlow, then a member of the Windsor Settlement, came south to join the fight. He was so taken with the area and its beauty, he returned in 1639 and founded the town of Fairfield.

An Algonquian-speaking people, the Pequot had been living in southeastern Connecticut for thousands of years prior to European contact. Before the arrival of the Europeans, roughly 13,000 Pequot lived in villages along Long Island Sound and the estuaries of the Thames, Mystic, and Pawcatuck Rivers, raising food through farming, hunting, and gathering

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The Pequot War (1637-38) was the first serious conflict in New England between European colonizers and the indigenous population. Historians have referred to the war as a seminal event in early American history, as it paved the way for English control of southern New England and the subjugation of the region’s Native people.
Among the many objects displayed in the exhibit is the sword of Captain John Mason, on loan from the Stonington Historical Society. Mason was the leader of the Connecticut troops during the Pequot War, and he most probably used this sword to fight the Pequot.

The exhibit also includes an original copy of John Underhill’s Newes from America (1638), on loan from the Connecticut Historical Society, rarely on public display. Captain John Underhill led the Mass Bay troops during the war and later published this account of the events. It is not only one of the most important primary sources of the war, but the publication also includes a remarkable woodcut of the attack on Mistick Fort that has become an iconic image. Also on view are other early 17th century examples of English arms and armor, including a helmet and matchlock gun, as well as a period bale seal and religious book, all on loan from the Plimoth Plantation.

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Also featured is a photograph of George Avison’s artwork, commissioned during the Great Depression by the Works Progress Administration to paint a series of five murals depicting Fairfield’s history, including one of the Swamp Fight. When he completed them in 1937, they were hung in the Roger Ludlowe High School building, now known as Tomlinson Middle School, where they remain today.

About the Fairfield Museum and History Center
The Fairfield Museum and History Center is a nonprofit, community cultural arts and education center established in 2007 by the 103-year old Fairfield Historical Society. The 13,000 square-foot museum includes modern galleries, a research library, a museum shop and community spaces overlooking Fairfield’s historic Town Green. The Fairfield Museum and History Center believes in the power of history to inspire the imagination, stimulate thought and transform society. Located at 370 Beach Road in Fairfield, CT, the Museum is open seven days a week, 10 am – 4 pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors. Members of the Museum and children are free. For more information www.fairfieldhistory.org.

For area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

Voices of Poetry at Hunt Hill Farm – Comfort and Joy!

The Silo will present “Voices of Poetry / Comfort & Joy” on Sunday, December 21, 2014 at 2 p.m. This afternoon of original poetry and music – to celebrate the holiday season – will be held at The Red Barn at Hunt Hill Farm, Crossman Road, New Milford, CT. A “meet and greet” reception with the poets & musicians – with holiday desserts – will follow the program.

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The Silo will present “Voices of Poetry / Comfort & Joy” on Sunday, December 21, 2014 at 2 p.m. This afternoon of original poetry and music – to celebrate the holiday season – will be held at The Red Barn at Hunt Hill Farm, Crossman Road, New Milford, CT. A “meet and greet” reception with the poets & musicians – with holiday desserts – will follow the program.

There is an admission charge of $15 @ person for this program; and reservations are encouraged. For more information, and to reserve tickets, please call (860) 355-0300, visit www.hunthillfarmtrust.org, or e-mail info@hunthillfarmtrust.org. Reservations can also be made at The Silo during regular business hours. The Silo Gallery and Store are open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m.

For more holiday event information www.litchfieldhills.com

About The Silo

Drawing on the creative legacy of Skitch and Ruth Henderson, the Henderson Cultural Center at Hunt Hill Farm, a Smithsonian Institution affiliate, is a vibrant and unique regional resource, offering the public opportunities to explore music, art, cuisine, and permanently protected historic open space.

About Voices of Poetry (VOP)

VOP was founded by poet and poetry activist Neil Silberblatt. Since 2012, VOP has presented a series of poetry and music events featuring distinguished poets and writers at venues throughout the state, including The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield; The New Britain Museum of American Art; The Sherman Playhouse; Minor Memorial Library in Roxbury; Gunn Memorial Library in Washington; Ridgefield Library; Hopkins Vineyard; and Hartford Public Library. VOP also has presented poetry events to raise support for community organizations. Voices of Poetry / Thanks for the Giving events (in 2013 and 2014) raised more than $2,500 for Loaves & Fishes, New Milford’s community soup kitchen and food pantry. VOP hosts a Facebook “group” page which (at last count) had more than 1,900 members, including numerous poets and writers, editors, publishers, composers, musicians in all genres, professors, and fans of the printed, written or sung word.

Can you smell the gingerbread in Kent?

The sweet scents will tease your sense of smell as you enter the quaint village of Kent CT. The rolling pins are spinning and creative minds of all ages are working hard to create over 40 Gingerbread Houses. Ovens are filled to capacity and working overtime to get ready for the 3rd ANNUAL KENT GINGERBREAD FESTIVAL through Jan. 5, 2015.

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Gingerbread Houses of all shapes and sizes will be on display in over 40 beautifully decorated shop windows until the first week in January. As you approach Kent you will find yourself in what looks like a movie set of the perfect little New England town, twinkling lights will guide you through the unique one of a kind shops. What an enjoyable way to do your holiday shopping. Add to that, a little Naughty Gingerbread Man named FREDDIE and you have the recipe for the most exciting Holiday Destination in Connecticut.

FREDDIE and his crew of ten Gingerbread Bad Boys will be hiding out in the shop windows amongst the Gingerbread Houses. So bring the family and friends and put on your detective hats and gumshoes. Vote for your favorite Window Display and House and you can also enter for free to win a great prize. Download a Gingerbread Manhunt Walking Map to find FREDDIE and his girlfriend GINGER, the cute, hot & spicy Gingerbread Girl he rescued from the bakery. Even though FREDDIE has been NAUGHTY, while you are in Kent, you can complete your NICE shopping list, away from the crowded malls & parking lots. Here you will find smiling faces, and even get your gifts wrapped for free in most shops.

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Should you be hungry after your Gingerbread Manhunt Walk there are many temptations that will lure you, from a chocolate shop and baked goods to delicious culinary delights in one of Kent’s twelve restaurants & cafés. Join in the “Find Freddie Fun” and make Kent CT your Annual Holiday Destination.

For more holiday information and the latest on Freddie visit www.kentct.com and for holiday events in Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.com