Snowflakes and Resolutions at the CHS!

During our January FREE first Saturday family program, children and families were able to create their own indoor Winter Wonderland to take home. Our visitors revealed their creativity once again! Check out some of these awesome snowflakes:

family snowflakes 1 Continue reading

Snow comes to Connecticut!

Winter in New England can be unpredictable. Connecticut has already experienced cold, rainy, icy, and snowy conditions (and it isn’t even really winter until December 21st!).  Although we were not hit as hard as some of the other spots throughout the country, Connecticut received its first, widespread coating of snow this week. Luckily, the roads were not absolutely horrible and I think many people were able to enjoy the December snowfall.

Snowfall in eastern Connecticut

Snowfall in eastern Connecticut.

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Phelps family record

Silas and Ursula Phelps family record. Ms 80728

Silas and Ursula Phelps family record. Ms 80728

Every once in a while I come across a really poignant document in the midst of deeds and letters and other family papers that can be more mundane. That happened this week when I cataloged a collection of papers related to the Work and Smith families. Tucked in among the numerous deeds and family memorabilia was a hand drawn record for the family of Silas Phelps and his wife Ursula Thrall Phelps of East Granby, Connecticut.

The vignette drawn at the top reminds me of decorations found on samplers, making me wonder if this was perhaps something done at school by one of the girls, possibly Tryphena. The buildings and ship have a very European look, which lends further credence to the school exercise theory.

The last noted birth was that of a stillborn daughter on June 1, 1810, leading me to believe this record was created very near that date. The entry for “A son” born June 18, 1805, who died fourteen days later reminds me how children were not named immediately at birth as we often do today, because the “little stranger” had a good chance of not surviving past the first month. It was harder to lose a child who had an identity.

This was obviously cherished by someone in the family, because the death dates are entered in different hands, starting with Silas in 1835 and ending with Anna Phelps who died in 1859. Who that person was, and how the document ended up here at CHS is a mystery we may never solve.

You can see the record in person in the Research Center by requesting Ms 80728.

The Colors of Fall!

Fall is my most favorite time of the year – slightly cooler weather, fairs and festivals serving delicious pumpkin and maple flavored treats, and the changing of leaves from green to vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges. If it were up to me, (and I know a lot of you will be happy that it is not), fall in New England would last all year! Continue reading

CHS Kids’ Choice Awards

Summer programs bring a lot of activity to CHS! By the end of August, we will have offered fourteen Story &Crafts at the Museum programs for toddlers and their caregivers. This has given me a lot of time to delve into the minds of 2, 3, and 4 year-old museum visitors. In an unofficial poll, I have created a list of the top 5 stops that are unavoidable if you and your little one(s) come to CHS for a visit. Continue reading

What is this?

thumbnail-babyOur exhibit, Making Connecticut, showcases over 500 objects, images, and documents from the CHS collection. “What is this?” posts will highlight an object from the exhibit and explore its importance in Connecticut history every other week. What is this object? What is the story behind it? To find out more, Continue reading

Kids + Summer: A Secret Formula for Parents

CHS Summer kids programsAh, summer. The time for all those summer kid activities: Camps, amusement parks, pools, education—SHHH! Bite your tongue, it’s summer! Well, just because kids are on summer vacation, doesn’t mean their minds need to shut down either. Continue reading

A CHS Commuter

As I write this blog entry, two middle school classes are walking past my office. This is the third program that educators have done today—three different programs for students from three different schools. End of the year field-trip time keeps the CHS educators busy!

It is during this time of year that I love my commute to and from work—I can roll the windows down, turn up the radio, and clear my mind. Sometimes. In order to get to this state of mind, I need to first tune out the honking of horns and forget about the bumper-to-bumper traffic that will be my fate for the next 20 miles.


What I wish my commute looked like!

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Three Connecticut Women and a Group of Girl Scouts

CHS_education-prep-materials2A typical day in the Education Department at CHS begins with educators teaching classes of students, both on-site and off-site, until midday. Then, we spend hours prepping materials for upcoming programs, (think—sorting through thousands of colorful beads for Native American bear claw necklaces, cutting out hundreds of pieces of paper—some sticky—for colonial hornbooks, and peeling off the last remnants of toilet paper from its rolls so that the rolls can be turned into binoculars or holiday poppers!), creating lesson plans, holding teacher workshops, and doing countless other tasks. Continue reading