Wethersfield Historical Society’s Stance Against Discrimination and Oppression

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.

Call for Nominations

In conjunction with the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States, WHS announces a planned exhibit detailing the lives and significant contributions made by women with ties to Wethersfield throughout its long and storied history. There is not an era of our history, “auncient” or modern, or an arena of endeavor that has not been profoundly impacted by the lives and actions of women. WHS is looking for nominations of Wethersfield women of any era who would be good candidates to feature in this exhibit and either the loan or donation of supporting artifacts for display. To submit nominations and supporting photographs or text,  you can click here and fill out the online submission form. To donate or loan artifacts to the exhibit, please email curator Kristina Oschmann or call the WHS offices at (860) 529-7656.

A Word about Keeney Koolers Concert Series 2020

The Keeney Koolers Concert Series, originally scheduled for Tuesday evenings in July and slated to occur on the stage of the showmobile in front of the Keeney Memorial Cultural Center is yet another victim of this year’s COVID-19 pandemic. The first concert in the series, slated for July 7, was the Colonel John Chester Fife and Drum Corps as part of their 80th Anniversary Celebration has had to be canceled. That being said, Wethersfield Historical Society is committed to bringing you these live performances, albeit in a slightly different format. Keep checking back here and on our social media for complete details of how you will be able to enjoy this year’s installment of the Keeney Koolers Concert Series and comply with social distancing guidelines. A special word of thanks to our artists and our audience for your patience as we finalize the details of how to make Keeney Koolers 2020 swing with the same verve it has always had.

Governing and Advisory Boards Election Results June 2020

Wethersfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the results of our recent Governing Board election. Thank you to all the members who responded with their votes, either by phone or email. Your efforts are very much appreciated. Also, a special thank you to those of you who replied to the included survey about programming for the upcoming year. Your replies will be used to help us plan our events for the remaining duration of the pandemic.

The Governing Board would like to welcome the following members who will serve through 2023: Nancy Kotchko, Judith Melchreit, and Betty Sheehan

Through 2021 (to fill a one year unexpired term): Joseph Pierz

Advisory Board through 2023: Patricia H. Allen, Bruce A. Bockstael, Dorene B. Ciarcia, Beverly J. Lucas, John M. Oblak, John W. Oldham, Jr.,  and Howard A. Willard, Jr.

For a complete and current list of the Wethersfield Historical Society Boards, please visit the Board page in the “About Us” section by clicking here.

An Update from Wethersfield Historical Society

We hope that you and your families are all faring well in this time of pandemic-imposed social distancing. Unfortunately, we have all been impacted far harder and for longer than originally anticipated. As a result, Wethersfield Historical Society has had to make some additional modifications to our 2020 Calendar of Events.

 

 

The XVth Annual Taste of Wethersfield – While “Taste XV” had been tentatively rescheduled to mid-May, the current state of the pandemic will not allow us to safely hold the event on the revised date. “Taste XV” will happen, but at a time this summer or fall more conducive to larger social gatherings. WHS will be monitoring conditions closely and will only reschedule when our patrons, restaurants, caterers, and the Hot Cat Jazz Band can safely come together and celebrate all the culinary delights our region has to offer. Check back here frequently for the most up-to-date information on scheduling. While tickets are currently not available for sale, there will be ample notice given before they resume. If you have already purchased tickets, they will be honored on the new date. If you are unable to attend, please contact the office at (860) 529-7656 and leave a message to arrange for a full refund.

 

The Hubbard Houses Walking Tour with Dorene Ciarcia prominently featured in the Spring Almanac has been moved to Saturday, September 12 at 10:00 am.

 

Heritage Weekend and History Day for Families, originally scheduled for May 23rd has been postponed to a date later in the season to be determined. Again, please check here for updates.

 

Living with History, WHS’ popular House Tour originally scheduled for June 13 and featured most recently in the spring newsletter, has been postponed until next year. The new date will be Saturday, June 12, 2021 (10:00 am – 4:00 pm). Ticket sales, which were to begin on Monday, May 4, will now be delayed until next year as well.

 

 

 

Lastly, and of particular interest to our members, the Wethersfield Historical Society’s Annual Meeting and Dinner, scheduled for May 12 has been postponed until a time “to be determined”. WHS would ask the membership to stand by for additional information on the meeting and the pending election of new Governing Board Members as it becomes available. (If anyone is interested in taking a more active role in the Wethersfield Historical Society by becoming a member, please visit this page for more information and the ability to join the society on line).

Call for Submissions

At Wethersfield Historical Society we believe history happens every day — and history is definitely happening right now! WHS will be documenting this history in an upcoming exhibit “Chronicling COVID-19”, both physically in the Wethersfield Museum and virtually here on the website. You can contribute to the project by sharing what you and your family are doing to make the most of this time of social distancing. Initially, we are looking for photos, videos, or written submissions, but we will ultimately be looking for physical artifacts as well, for the time when we can all visit the Wethersfield Museum again. Photographs and written contributions can now be submitted on the website here.  To submit artifacts for the physical exhibit, please contact Curator Kristina Oschmann via email at Kristina.Oschmann@wethersfieldhistory.org or by post at Attn: Kristina Oschmann, Wethersfield Historical Society, 150 Main Street, Wethersfield, CT 06109.

Revised Calendar of Events 2020

What follows is Wethersfield Historical Society’s  Calendar of Events for 2020 as it currently stands as of May 4. With the ever-changing landscape being created by the current pandemic, every effort is being made to plan in accordance with social distancing guidelines and the most current information available. Please check back here often for the very  latest updates.

April 4 – Taste of Wethersfield XV POSTPONED
May 23 – Heritage Weekend POSTPONED
(Hurlbut-Dunham House and the Cove Warehouse open for the season).
May 28 & 30 – Ancient Burying Ground Tour CANCELED
June 13 – Triennial House Tour POSTPONED 1 YEAR UNTIL JUNE 21, 2021
June 18 & 20 – Ancient Burying Ground Tour CANCELED
July 7 – Keeney Koolers: Col. John Chester Fife and Drum Corps CANCELED
 July 14, 21, & 28 – Keeney Koolers Concert Series Schedule to be revised to comply with social distancing guidelines. Check back for details as they become available. 
August 29 – Uncovering Architecture Walking Tour (kids age 7-12)
September 12 – Hubbard Houses Walking Tour
September 17 – Farm Dinner
September 19 – Walking Tour of Hartford Avenue
September 24 & 26 – Ancient Burying Ground Tour
October 3 – 39th Old Wethersfield Arts and Crafts Fair
October 8 & October 10 – Ancient Burying Ground Tour (Added to replace two canceled tours originally scheduled earlier in June).

October 16 & 17 Old Wethersfield Lantern Light Tours
December 3 – Holidays on Main
December 5 & 6, 12 & 13 – Hurlbut-Dunham House open for free holiday tours

 

(This is by no means a complete list of what’s in store on the calendar. All events will be published in full as soon as all details are confirmed).