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“Interesting exhibits and knowledgeable docents”

Connecticut Historical Society
Ranked #15 of 66 things to do in Hartford
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Attraction details
Owner description: Founded in 1825, the Connecticut Historical Society (CHS) is a non-profit museum, library, research and education center that strives to inspire and foster a life-long interest in history through research assistance, exhibitions, tours and programs for all ages. The colorful and interactive "Making Connecticut" exhibit is filled with more than 500 historic objects, images, and documents telling the story of Connecticut from the 1500s through today.
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I loved planning field trips here. They are accommodating, flexible and the students and the parents have had the best experiences.

Thank Helen S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"smaller exhibits"
in 3 reviews
"american inn"
in 2 reviews
"history nut"
in 2 reviews
"exhibits include"
in 2 reviews
"technological advances"
in 2 reviews
"living room"
in 3 reviews
"on display"
in 4 reviews
"interesting exhibits"
in 3 reviews
"local library"
in 2 reviews
"temporary exhibits"
in 2 reviews
"write ups"
in 2 reviews
"few hours"
in 3 reviews
"gift shop"
in 3 reviews
"tavern"
in 8 reviews
"veeder"
in 3 reviews
"connecticut"
in 19 reviews
"interactives"
in 2 reviews
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Reviewed 31 January 2018

We have visited the Connecticut Historical Society (CHS) Museum in Hartford, Connecticut multiple times, most recently on Saturday, January 27, 2018, and have always enjoyed it. Both the permanent and temporary exhibits in this museum have consistently been great representations of Connecticut’s history. Although we only were able to spend about an hour at the museum this time, we estimate that it would take at least two hours to see this museum and appreciate all that it has to offer.

The current special exhibit, ‘Passing it On’ displays work produced by craftsman from a variety of different backgrounds, who participated in the Traditional Art Apprenticeships Program. Although this exhibit is relatively small, some amazing and beautiful pieces are shown in it!!

The ‘That’s Weird’ special exhibit is quite interesting and nicely done. It defines weird in different ways, including quirky, curious, rare and surprising, in the context of items in the CHS collection. The exhibit depicts weird by such classifications as: Today’s Ordinary, Tomorrow’s Oddball; Secret Societies where details aren’t available so we fill in the gaps for ourselves and call the practice weird; and when a story is off, we sometimes consider it weird. The exhibit further explains addressing why an item is weird is helpful to better understand and appreciate it as well as its role in or connection to our state’s history. For example, in industry when tools are no longer useful and are considered weird we examine why they were useful in the past and what replaced them. When something goes out of fashion or becomes out of date, we try to understand its importance in the past and why it was valued or needed that moment in history. CHS has some items in their collection, which are over 100 years old, where they don’t know where they came from and their purpose because records were lost for such reasons as natural disasters. However, they now have policies and procedures to better document items when acquiring them to minimize such issues. They do this because if you have a better understanding of who made an item, when it was created and how and why it came to CHS the weirdness diminishes.

The permanent exhibit, Making Connecticut, takes a broad look at Connecticut’s history including its people, their lives and work, and changes in the world around them. It gives a comprehensive history of Connecticut starting from the native Quinnetukut settlers, whom Connecticut is named after, through to the present time. The Making Connecticut Exhibit is broken down into multiple sections based on time period which include several smaller exhibits with many objects and other artifacts on display with very informative supporting write-ups, interactives and videos explaining them. The time periods include Colonial Life (1687 – 1774), the American Revolution (1775 – 1783), the Civil War, WWI and WWII and the building of modern life (1945 to today). The exhibits include items made in Connecticut and details about the factors impacting technological advances in Connecticut within each time period.

The permanent collections of American Inn and Tavern Signs, which is the largest in the nation, and the Veedor Living Room and building history are also very interesting and unique. The outside grounds of the museum are well maintained, beautifully landscaped and nice for picnicking. There is also plenty of free parking.

This museum is worth visiting for a very comprehensive history of Connecticut. There is a lot to see in this museum and it may take more than 1 visit to absorb and appreciate it all!!

2  Thank kzsull01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 December 2017

We visited to see the new "That's Weird" exhibit. The person at the desk greeted us and gave us good information about navigating the various galleries. The displays were laid out nicely with not-too-verbose explanations (yay!). I was pretty impressed, as I've never heard of this museum and have lived in this area for 37 years. Their other exhibits were interesting, especially the historical "Making Connecticut" and "Connecticut Inn and Tavern Signs" displays. This would be a great place for small groups and school tours to explore as well. There was ample parking.

1  Thank Millerdb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 July 2017

Nothing spectacular but everything was well done and interesting and the people were very nice. Be a History Nut!

Thank DowneastCornhusker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Justine K, Guest Relations Manager at Connecticut Historical Society, responded to this reviewResponded 31 July 2017

Thank you for visiting. We're hosting a free concert on the lawn August 17—visit our website for more upcoming events. We hope to see you again!

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Reviewed 24 July 2017

We have visited the Connecticut Historical Society Museum in Hartford, Connecticut multiple times, most recently on July 21st and have always enjoyed it. Both the permanent and temporary exhibits in this museum have consistently been great representations of Connecticut history. The permanent exhibit, Making Connecticut, gives a comprehensive history of Connecticut starting from the native Quinnetukut settlers, whom Connecticut is named after, through to the present time. The Making Connecticut Exhibit is broken down into multiple sections based on time period which include several smaller exhibits with many objects and other artifacts on display with very informative supporting write-ups, interactives and videos explaining them. The exhibits include items made in Connecticut and details about the factors impacting technological advances in Connecticut within each time period. Both the permanent collections of American Inn and Tavern Signs and the Veedor Living Room and building history are very interesting and unique. The current temporary exhibits, including Language, Culture, Communities: 200 Years of Impact by the American School for the Deaf and the exhibits on the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture are both nicely done and quite interesting. The outside grounds of the museum are well maintained, beautifully landscaped and nice for picnicking. This museum is worth visiting for a comprehensive history of Connecticut. There is a lot to see in this museum and it may take more than 1 visit to absorb it all!!

1  Thank kzsull01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Justine K, Guest Relations Manager at Connecticut Historical Society, responded to this reviewResponded 26 July 2017

Thank you for coming & sharing your experience! We'd love to have you back. Stop by on August 17th for our free outdoor concert—show starts at 6pm!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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