Peek Behind the Scenes All Year Long!

behindc the scenes at CHSIt 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!

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G. Fox Was Way Ahead of Amazon

Ready to deliver! The G. Fox & Co. Fleet in 1955. CHS 2007.24.263.

Ready to deliver! The G. Fox & Co. Fleet in 1955. CHS 2007.24.263.

Long before Jeff Bezos imagined drones delivering packages to your door, G. Fox & Co. built their business on world-class service and home delivery—and even air delivery. So many Hartford residents have warm memories of visits to the iconic downtown department store, but the truth was that you didn’t have to set foot in G. Fox & Co. to shop there. Almost immediately after they opened in 1847, G. Fox was already delivering to its customers—via wheelbarrow. Technology evolved rather slowly, and the wheelbarrows were finally replaced by one-horse wagons in 1907. By 1964, a fleet of 165 boxy blue G. Fox trucks reminded everyone around Hartford and Connecticut that G. Fox delivered. And deliver they did—the official policy was that they would any purchase of any size to your door, and even pick up merchandise for returns. Continue reading

Calling All Yankee Craftsmen!

If your workshop isn’t air conditioned, find a perfect respite from the rising temperatures at our Behind-the-Scenes Tours “CHS Toolbox” on Saturday, July 20 at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. With collections expert Rich Malley, visitors will explore vintage tools from awls to wrenches (ok, I couldn’t come up with a tool that started with z!) and many chisels, hammers, and planes in between. Please note the date change for this month’s tour—it isn’t our usual second Saturday of the month, but the third.

Solon Rust toolbox

Solon Rust used this toolbox as an apprentice at the Union Factory from 1865-1890. This special treasure featured in Making Connecticut will be unpacked for the tour.

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Boxing Day


Detail of Pieced Quilt. 1876. Gift of Susan Goodrich Motycka in memory of my father John Quincy Goodrich. 2013.74.1.

Quite a bit happens behind the scenes here at CHS that most people never see (unless you come on a behind-the-scenes tour!).  It is usually all those seemingly small, unglamorous tasks that make it possible for us to share our great collections with all of you. Tuesday, Diane Lee, our Collections Manager, and I spent an entire day doing one such seemingly small, unglamorous task.

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A View from the Inside

1860's style CHSThe month of February means some new artifacts in our Making Connecticut exhibition.  In an effort to best protect our collections, we strictly follow a 6-month display rotation for light sensitive and delicate artifacts…which means that every February and August our permanent exhibition gets a little update.  Some of those updates, like re-dressing our mannequins, take quite a bit of time on the back end, so…. Continue reading