Explore our new digital exhibition platform to see online versions of select exhibitions. Each tour includes all of the objects included in the physical version along with exclusive bonus background and resources. Investigate them all here!
Becoming Westport. From the humble farmer to internationally famous robber barons, Westport is a town built by the contributions of many over the centuries. Like other New England coastal villages, Westport started out as an agricultural community that quickly diversified into trade then evolved with commerce and industry into a factory town and, eventually, a bedroom community for nearby New York City. Over its nearly four centuries of settlement, the area that would become Westport has been home to native people, European colonists, enslaved African Americans and immigrants from around the world. Its bucolic settings and beautiful beaches have lured artists, vacationers, health seekers and commuters. Becoming Westport explores all aspects of the archetypes of those who collectively built the town including The Farmer, The Laborer, The Cleric, The Merchant, The Revolutionary, The Entrepreneur, The Artist and The Performer.
Vision & Dignity: The Art of George Hand Wright, is a retrospective that examines the work and life of the Pennsylvania-born artist who moved his home and studio to the then-sleepy farm town of Westport, Connecticut in 1908.
Noted not only for his illustrations but his etchings and pastel work, as well as for producing war posters for the American government during World War I, Wright managed to portray the dignity of everyday life and everyday people without irony or judgement. With almost journalistic objectivity, the integrity of Wright’s pieces speak strongly to viewers observing his pieces today some one hundred years after they were produced.
Taking the Cure, casts a lens on the social management of mental illness. It is an issue that resonates today and historically to the town of Westport which had two sanitariums for those considered mentally ill. The Westport Sanitarium and McFarland’s Sanitarium both opened in the late 19th century operated in town into the middle of the 20th century. The goal of the exhibit is to spark conversation and consideration among visitors in this time when mental health and welfare has become a pressing national discussion.
Westport Historical Society’s award winning exhibit, Remembered: The History of African Americans in Westport, retells the history of African American families in Westport from colonial days to the present. Out of a history born of slavery, black Westporters persevered, gaining freedom and creating lives in the town as educators, freedom fighters, artists, patriots and respected citizens.
A virtual version of the award-winning exhibition is available online or on your mobile device here!