It is time to unveil the 2014 line up of Behind-the-Scenes Tours. We’re offering even more access to the hidden treasures of Connecticut history that are normally behind closed doors, and with the option of buying a Season Pass, you can get that sneak peek at a great 20% discount!
Hanging under muslin, placed carefully on shelves, hiding in drawers, the objects and images that tell the story of Connecticut are waiting to be shared. Few museums offer this level of access to the working areas of their collections, and the CHS tours are especially dramatic because they visit the numerous underground and warehouse-like storage additions to the CHS. With the variety of themes offered, there is a tour for everyone.
February 8: Treasures from the CHS Collection
Abel Buel’s first map of the United States; a dressing table by Eliphalet Chapin; the Leatherman’s mitten; Munson Hoyt’s loyalist uniform coat; these are just a few of our favorites of the 265,000 artifacts in the CHS collection. None of these treasures are currently on display, but you can come behind the scenes, see them for yourself, and learn about how we care for these special items in our charge.
April 12: The Civil War 150 Years Later
Take this rare opportunity to see Civil War-related material not usually on view, including examples of private letters between soldiers and their families, uniforms, swords, guns and bayonets, and even hardtack from the 1860s. The tour culminates with the flag that decorated President Lincoln’s box at Ford’s theater the night he was assassinated.
June 14: From Hoop Skirts to Mini Skirts
Whether it is a yellow silk dress worn to Lincoln’s inaugural ball, or a psychedelic maxi dress from the 1960s, our costume collection tells the story of women’s fashion in Connecticut. We’ll share that story with everything from wedding dresses to corsets, but we’ll also explore how women worked to secure their health, freedom, and political participation.
August 9: Putting History on the Map
The CHS has recently concluded an ambitious project to digitize and catalog its large collection of maps, and visitors will get a glimpse into the project, the new storage facilities, and some of the most significant pieces in the collection, including Dutch maps from the 1600s, and the earliest published maps of Connecticut.
October 18: CHS Gets Creepy
History gets creepy with this spooky look behind the scenes. Tales of vampires, corpses on ice, death portraits, and even séances haunt the storage vaults of the CHS. Come and get the history scared out of you!
December 13: G. Fox and Holiday Shopping
Holidays in Hartford in the 1950s through the 1990s were synonymous with its largest downtown department store. Come take a holiday stroll down memory lane through the CHS’s collection of G. Fox memorabilia, store displays, and holiday ornaments. Stay to browse through our CHS store and do some of your own holiday shopping.
Behind-the-Scenes Tours will be held every other month, starting in February, on Saturdays at 2:00 pm. The tours last approximately 1 hour and take visitors into the non-public areas of the museum to explore the riches of the CHS collections. Single tour tickets cost $6 for CHS members and $12 non-members and include all-day admission to the museum galleries and free parking. Season passes, new for 2014, will allow admission to all six tours for a reduced rate of $30 for CHS members and $60 for non-members; a 20% savings! Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. Tours are appropriate for ages 12 and up. Tickets and season passes are available online and check our calendar for updates.
Jennifer Steadman is the Adult Programs Manager at the Connecticut Historical Society