January 31st, 2004 until May 16th, 2004
January 31 – May 16, 2004
This Old Westport House, an exhibition of paintings, photos and artifacts, is the first new exhibition of 2004 at the Westport Historical Society. The exhibition highlights Westport’s amazing array of antique homes, and features some of Westport’s favorite buildings.
The Westport Historical Society has long been an advocate of preservation, and it has supported groups or individuals whose intent is to preserve Westport’s historic inventory. The Society’s home is a perfect example of how a building can be modified or “recycled” for a new use without losing its historic identity. It is headquartered in Wheeler House, a building on the National Register of Historic Places which has been lovingly restored. A stunning image of Wheeler House, painted by Antony Marino in 1981, is included in the exhibition.
The Historical Society archives hold several paintings of early Westport homes, now but a distant memory, plus 120 photographs taken by Thomas O’ Connor Sloane as part of Westport’s WPA project in the 1930s, some of which are on view. The Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection yielded several more paintings, such as the House on Gorham Island and the Cuttings House at Longshore, both beloved by Westporters.
Also included in This Old Westport House is a collection of paintings on loan from Grace and Frank Penny, who are related to Bessie Jennings, the originator of Westport’s Jennings Trail. Grace Penny has also included a history of when and why the paintings were commissioned and a little about each of the artists.
Both The Westport Historic District Commission and William Scheffler have contributed photographs of homes as they looked originally and as they have been remodeled and restored. Memorabilia such as old tools, used in the building of early Westport homes, are included. Stonewall Secrets, a program especially for children, is also scheduled.
A very special and important facet of this exhibit is a series of nine lectures and panel discussions on the preservation and restoration of the town’s antique housing stock, presented by WHS board member and Westport-based realtor, Hilary Stevens. Old House School will provide information and resources to antique home owners by widely recognized guest speakers from a diverse range of disciplines.