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Gunn Historical Museum

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Gunn Historical Museum
5 Wykeham Road
P.O. Box 1419
Washington, CT 06793
Telephone: 860-868-7756

info@gunnhistoricalmuseum.org Questions about program registration, ticket sales, gift shop purchases, and general information should be sent to this address.

Louise Van Tartwijk, Museum Director
Questions about membership, fundraisers, monetary donations, bequests, grants, publicity, and the Wash Conn Chronicles should be sent to Louise.
Stephen Bartkus, Curator

Questions about artifact donations, research requests, the museum's collection, volunteering, educational programs, exhibits, and lectures should be sent to Stephen.
Marj Vitz, Curatorial Assistant

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Gunn Historical Museum Honored with Another National Award
Gunn Historical Museum 2015-2016 Annual Report
Gunn Historical Museum Receives Important Grant

Exhibits & Programs

The museum is currently closed as we work on the collection, pop-up exhibits, and our new permanent Washington history exhibit. Research can be conducted and artifact donations can be made by appointment. Please call 860-868-7756.


"Washington Speaks" — A Preview of The Permanent History of Washington Exhibit

October 21 - 23, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
October 28, 6:30 - 9:00 p.m.
October 29 - 30, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

The new permanent history of Washington exhibit, currently under construction at the Gunn Historical Museum, will tell the history of Washington through the very personal stories of the individuals who, over the centuries, have given the town its personality, features and character. While the exhibit is still several months away from opening, we invite the public to visit and have a small taste of what is to come.


Upcoming Programs:

Wicked Litchfield County — Tuesday, October 18 at 6:00 p.m.

Local history teacher and author Peter Vermilyea will present a program of devilish tales based on his recently-released book, "Wicked Litchfield County" in the Wykeham Room of the Gunn Memorial Library. These will include Barnett Davenport, the nation's first mass murderer; the vast counterfeiting empire of Owen Sullivan and William Stuart, and stories of other thieves, rumrunners and rapscallions from Litchfield County's seedier past. Free admission.


America's First Sculpture: Looking at Connecticut Gravestones — Tuesday, October 25 at 6:00 p.m.

Well-known Connecticut historian and author William Hosley will talk about how Connecticut's natural wealth of rocks, minerals and clays led to gravestones becoming Connecticut's earliest domestic art and export industry. This program will explore and illustrate the diverse stylistic traditions in dozens of small shops that produced gravestones from the mid-17th century to the advent of the industrial age. Mr. Hosley will also discuss prospects and possibilities in conservation. The program will be held in the Wykeham Room of the Gunn Memorial Library. Free admission.

9th Annual Washington Green Cemetery Tour — Friday, October 28 at 6:30-8:30 p.m.

The theme of this year's tour, with all new characters, is "Uncommon Tales from Common Folk". Groups of visitors will meet at the Museum and be led by Tour Guides dressed in vintage attire along a path of luminaries through the Cemetery to meet some of Washington's unforgettable residents from the past. Unique, memorable and familiar citizens from the last century will be brought to life by costumed actors who will tell stories of their life; some amusing, some sad, some tragic — even horrific!

Cemetery Tour attendees should come to the Gunn Historical Museum and form a line to get numbered tickets for the tours, handed out on a first-come first-serve basis, starting at 6:15 p.m. on Oct. 28, and continuing through the evening until the tickets run out. Tours of the Cemetery depart from the Gunn Museum in groups of fifteen people every eight minutes between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. and last approximately one hour. While there is no fee to attend the Cemetery Tour, donations are greatly appreciated.

A Halloween themed movie will be shown in the Wykeham Room of the Gunn Library where attendees can wait inside for their tour group to depart. Visitors are urged to bring a flashlight, dress warmly, and wear comfortable walking shoes. The Gunn Museum is located at 5 Wykeham Road, at the intersection of Wykeham Road and Route 47, in Washington, Connecticut. Parking at the Gunn is limited, please carpool and use nearby lots and side streets.

The rain date for the Cemetery Tour is Sunday October 30 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

"Turkish Delight" — The Annual Roxbury Historical Society, Minor Library, and Gunn Historical Museum Turkish-Rug-Sale Fundraiser

Join us on Saturday, November 5, 12:00-4:00 p.m. at the Congregational Church Parish Hall on Washington Green for a sumptuous Mediterranean lunch and lecture on the history of Turkish rugs and the meaning behind their symbols and patterns.

There is a $10 admission for lunch at 12:00, and from 2:00-4:00 p.m., no donation is necessary.


The Bulls Bridge to Waterbury Powerline in Washington — Sunday, November 13 at 1:00 p.m.

Stephan Jones and Zac Mirecki will present this free, illustrated presentation in the Wykeham Room of the Gunn Library. The Bulls Bridge hydroelectric power project, built on the Housatonic River in 1904, was the largest power project of its kind at the time east of the Rocky Mountains. Remarkably, the electricity generated here was not used locally, but transported 26 miles over to Waterbury. This created both amazement and disdain for the project. Stephan and Zac will discuss the short but turbulent history of this powerline, and rediscover its long-lost route through the southwestern corner of Washington, Connecticut and some of the artifacts discovered along the route.

Museum's Recurring Program Schedule for 2016

"Brownley" at 11 Kirby Road, circa 1900.
Demolished in the 1940s.
Our three popular recurring programs will now rotate monthly. All are welcome to attend and learn about the history of our town at these fun informal gatherings!

Washington History Club in the Morning

Meets the third Monday of the months of September, December, March and June at 10:00 a.m. at the Washington Senior Center to discuss the history of Washington, Washington Depot, Marbledale, New Preston and Woodville. Share your stories with the group or just listen to the fascinating conversation about our town's past. Bring your photos and objects for show and tell!

Next Meeting: Monday, December 19, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.
The topic of discussion at this meeting will continue to be Washington street names and their stories. Slaughter House Road, Church Hill Road, Christian Street, Flirtation Avenue, June Road, Bell Hill Road, etc - Did you ever wonder where these names came from? Bring your street name stories to share!

Readings from the Archives of the Gunn Historical Museum

Meets the first Monday of the months of October, January and April at 10:00 a.m. at the Washington Senior Center. Staff present a paper about the history of Washington from the museum's archive, related photos and artifacts from the museum are displayed and a discussion follows.

Next Meeting: Monday, January 2 at 10:00 a.m. - Topic to come

"Fennside" at 27 Wykeham Road in Washington in 1908

Washington History Club at Night

The Washington History Club at Night is a program of the Gunn Historical Museum and Meets the third Tuesday of the months of November, February and May at 6:30 pm in the Wykeham Room of the Gunn Library to discuss the history of Washington, Washington Depot, Marbledale, New Preston and Woodville. Share your stories with the group or just come and listen to the fascinating conversation about our town's past. Bring your photos and objects for show and tell!

Next Meeting: Tuesday, November 15 at 6:30 p.m. - Washington Houses

The very popular topic of Washington houses continues! Everyone is invited to attend this meeting in the Wykeham Room of the Gunn Memorial Library and share memories, photographs and objects related to houses in Washington. Every house has a story, who built it, who lived there, what happened to it, does it have a name, and why do we name houses anyway...? Bring your stories to share about interesting Washington houses and the memorable people who have lived in them over the years.

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