Archive for the ‘Museums’ Category

The Slater Memorial Museum (1886)

Friday, November 20th, 2009 Posted in Museums, Norwich, Romanesque Revival | No Comments »


The Slater Memorial Museum was begun in 1886 and dedicated in 1888 on the campus of the Norwich Free Academy. It is one of only two fine arts museums in the United States on the campus of a secondary school. The Museum was donated by William Albert Slater in memory of his father, the wealthy industrialist and philanthropist John Fox Slater. The building was designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style by architect Stephen C. Earle of Worcester and was expanded in 1906 with the addition of the Converse Gallery, donated by Charles A. Converse. The Museum‘s collections include regional American paintings, plaster casts of classical and Renaissance sculpture, and Asian, Pre-Columbian, Native American, African and Oceanic art. The use of plaster cast copies were a way American museums over a century ago would bring great European works to the American public. In 1891, at a time when the Metropolitan Museum was developing its own collection of plaster casts, a cast committee traveled from New York to Norwich to observe the arrangement of the Slater Memorial Museum’s collection and meet with William Albert Slater. The Slater Memorial Museum continues to be an educational resource for the Academy and the area community.

Barnum Museum (1893)

Saturday, October 17th, 2009 Posted in Bridgeport, Byzantine Revival, Museums, Romanesque Revival | 1 Comment »

This is Historic Buildings of Connecticut’s 900th post, excepting the two April Fools posts, which some people have taken too seriously! What is that famous quote often attributed to P.T. Barnum? Well, with that in mind, let’s keep to the Barnum theme! The Barnum Museum is a place worth celebrating in an anniversary post, as it is a surviving legacy from one of Connecticut’s most important historical figures. P.T. Barnum had his famous American Museum in Manhattan, but this later burned. Barnum built four successive mansions in Bridgeport, where he served as mayor in 1875, but only a few traces of these survive today. The museum in Bridgeport which today bears his name was built in 1893 as the Barnum Institute of Science and History and originally housed a resource library and lecture hall. The building, which reflects the influence of Byzantine, Moorish and Richardsonian Romanesque architecture, was constructed of stone and terra cotta after Barnum‘s death using funds he had bequeathed for the purpose. The original societies which occupied the building ceased operation during the Great Depression and the city of Bridgeport assumed ownership in 1933. In 1943 the museum was closed for remodeling, reopening in 1946 as a city hall annex. In 1965, the city offices were removed and the building was again remodeled to reopen as the P. T. Barnum Museum in 1968, with exhibits about Barnum and the history of Bridgeport. The museum, which since 1986 has been operated by the Barnum Museum Foundation, was renovated in 1986-1989 and is today the only museum dedicated to the life of P. T. Barnum

Lyman Allyn Art Museum (1932)

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009 Posted in Museums, Neoclassical, New London | 1 Comment »


In 1926, Harriet Upson Allyn founded a trust to establish a museum in New London in honor of her father, Capt. Lyman Allyn. The Lyman Allyn Art Museum‘s Neo-Classical building, designed by Charles A. Platt, opened in 1932. The museum also owns the Deshon-Allyn House.

Old Yale University Art Gallery (1927)

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009 Posted in Collegiate, Gothic, Museums, New Haven | 2 Comments »


Historic Buildings of Connecticut’s fiftieth entry for New Haven is the old Yale University Art Gallery building, designed by Egerton Swartwout a Yale graduate, in a Gothic style called “Tuscan Romanesque.” Built along Chapel Street in 1927, the Art Gallery is connected to the earlier Street Hall (1864), across High Street, by a distinctive bridge. Swatwout planned a further extension of the building, but this original plan was not completed; instead the museum was expanded in 1953 with the construction of the modern-style new Art Gallery building, designed by Louis I. Kahn. Until recently, the bridge over High Street contained faculty offices, but it will soon be renovated, in the continuation of a Gallery plan which has already resulted in the restoration of the Kahn building. This work will expand the Art Gallery across the bridge and into Street Hall. Read the rest of this entry »

Haddam Veteran’s Museum (1930)

Friday, February 13th, 2009 Posted in Haddam, Museums, Public Buildings, Vernacular | No Comments »


The building which today houses the Haddam Veteran’s Museum was originally built in 1930 to be the town’s first firehouse. Located on Candlewood Hill Road, on the south side of Higganum Green, it was built after the Haddam Town Hall burned down in 1929. The sides on the second floor were later raised.

Southington Historical Center (1902)

Saturday, November 8th, 2008 Posted in Libraries, Museums, Neoclassical, Southington | 3 Comments »


In 1900, a small library opened in the Southington Town Hall, but money was soon raised to construct a library building on Main Street. Completed in 1902, this original library building is a neoclassical structure built of of glazed terra cotta brick and granite. In 1917, Emma Bradley Yeomans Newell, a wealthy philanthropist, donated money for the addition of a “historical wing” to the library. The wing, not actually built until 1930, was named the Sylvia Bradley Memorial, in honor of the wife of Amon Bradley and grandmother of the notable Southington citizen, Bradley Barnes. The Southington Historical Society, founded in the 1960s, housed its collections and met in the wing. A new library was constructed in 1974 and the old building then became a museum called the Southington Historical Center. It recently received a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain to complete renovations on the building.

Wood Memorial Library (1928)

Friday, March 14th, 2008 Posted in Colonial Revival, Libraries, Museums, South Windsor | No Comments »


Donated by William Wood, of South Windsor, in honor of his parents, Dr. William Wood (a distinguished ornithologist) and Mary Ellsworth Wood, the Wood Memorial Library, on Main Street, served as the one of town’s two libraries from its dedication, in 1928, into the 1970s, when a new library building was constructed on Sullivan Avenue. In 1971, the non-profit Friends of Wood Memorial Library was founded to oversee its continued operation, through private funds, as a library, museum and historical archive. The library, built between 1926 and 1928, was designed by the Hartford architect William Marchant in the Colonial Revival style, with features drawn from the Federal period.