It is Wethersfield Historical Society’s goal to truthfully report historical events. The society (“WHS”) is committed to diversity and inclusiveness in all of its programming and welcomes new members to work with us to achieve this goal.
WHS recognizes the need to do more with respect to its programs on Black, Indigenous, and Women’s history in Wethersfield and stands committed to do so. Outlined below are some of the ways we have promoted the diversity of our community in the past, followed by some specifics on our commitment to do more going forward.
Programs Highlighting Wethersfield’s Historical and Current Diversity:
- Lantern Light Tours: Volunteer actors perform reenactments of individuals (often people that history books overlook) based on historical record. We received an Award of Merit from the Connecticut League of Historical Organizations for the tour “Forgotten Residents of Wethersfield” featuring female, Black and Indigenous people who were members of our community in the past.
- “Here we Stand: from Pyquag to Wethersfield and Beyond”: This four-program series explored some of the Indigenous history and culture in Wethersfield guided by highly respected Indigenous presenters. (See program flyer here)
- “Holidays of Wethersfield’s World”: This exhibit explored diverse holidays celebrated by local residents with the displays created by the residents themselves. WHS created this exhibit in collaboration with the UCONN Extension Program- People Empowering People (PEP). (See Courant article here).
WHS welcomes everyone to its programs and exhibits through:
- Free of charge access: Access to our museums and most of our programs are either free of charge or low cost.
- Free or low-cost school programs: WHS offers programs to schools in Wethersfield and throughout the greater Hartford area. Our grant funded programs with “Reaching Beyond the Classroom” support field trips, and in-classroom or virtual programming for underserved urban schools. Our programs also include scholarly information about both Black and Indigenous history.
WHS commitment to doing more:
- Wethersfield History exhibit: WHS has completed a planning project to rewrite its over twenty year old permanent exhibit on Wethersfield history. The project was funded by the Connecticut Humanities and the Robert Allan Keeney Memorial Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. It is our goal that this new exhibit will fill in missing information about the history of Wethersfield’s Black and Indigenous population. We received invaluable assistance on this project from the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and our State Historian Walt Woodward. WHS will work toward the goal of mounting this new exhibit which tells a more complete story of Wethersfield’s history. We continue to invite and welcome all members of the community to contribute narratives, images and objects that help us more accurately and fully reflect the whole history of Wethersfield in our exhibits.
- “Wethersfield Women”: This new exhibit will debut this fall and feature modern and historic women, including entrepreneurs, social reformers, historic preservationists, educators and elected officials. We are actively seeking nominations, information and supporting artifacts of women past and present who have impacted Wethersfield. You can submit nominations and supporting materials here.
- “Articles from the Community” webpage: During the pandemic, we have sought to engage our community to contribute to this section of our website. Some of its current content was written many years ago and does not thoroughly document facts regarding Wethersfield’s Black and Indigenous people. WHS is committed to reviewing these articles and adding sections that fill in the missing pieces. WHS is also committed to seeking and producing new scholarly articles with sources that more fully reflect the diversity of Wethersfield’s history.
- Social media content that showcases the rich and diverse makeup of our community: WHS will work to include more diverse content in our digital presence. Our Educator has produced a series of educational videos and accompanying scavenger hunts that include the history of the roles of Black and Indigenous people in our community. WHS pledges to work with our funders and partner organizations to invite local Black and Indigenous historians and artists to create content that we can promote through social media and our website.
- Wethersfield’s Social Justice Coalition: The Town of Wethersfield has formed a newly created Social Justice Coalition to determine more ways Wethersfield can be responsive to its community’s needs and goals for diversity and inclusion. WHS pledges to work with this coalition to promote its goals.
WHS is a community organization, and all of the content in its collection comes from our residents and neighbors. The objects and images in our collections, and all of the manuscripts in our archives have been donated to us by community members or their descendants. We actively invite our community members to help build our collections with information that helps to tell the story of Wethersfield and its history.
When we say “History Happens Every Day” we mean it. Every member of our community deserves to be seen and heard and we are committed to make that happen every day.