Hill-Stead News


Purchase your new Hill-Stead Museum membership now and take 1/3 OFF!

(Offer does not apply to membership renewals.)

Individual membership: $50 $33

Individual $33

Dual membership: $75 $50

Dual $50

Family/Grandparent membership: $75 $50

Family/Grandparent $50

Enjoy Year-Round Benefits

  • FREE admission to the house, special exhibitions, First Sundays for Families, & more
    Member-only invitations, preferred pricing & priority ticketing.
  • 10% Museum Shop discount.
  • A complimentary New Member VIP Tour.
  • For more information, see Join or Renew Your Membership.

*For new memberships only. Does not apply to renewals. Ends December 31st.

One Million Visitors

Will you be the visitor who makes history?

After 70 years as a world-class art and history museum in Farmington, Hill-Stead is expecting to welcome its 1,000,000th visitor during mid-December. Come to Hill-Stead during the next few weeks and find out if you win our special commemorative “Theodate Mug” designed exclusively for the milestone event!

If you have ever wanted to visit this magical place, now is a perfect time. The historic house is all decked out with holiday decorations and delightful trimmings around every corner. December is also the last month to view the fabulous Broadway costume exhibition: From Page to Stage: Broadway Costumes from the Goodspeed Musicals Collection.

This holiday season, we welcome all visitors to experience all that the Hill-Stead has to offer. Explore the grounds, take a tour of the house, tour our special Broadway costume exhibition, and experience the gift left to us all by our beloved Theodate Pope Riddle.

Get Your Free Field Trip – BUS INCLUDED!

WE GET IT! It has become increasingly difficult for schools to fund learning opportunities outside the classroom.

Hill-Stead Museum seeks to change that with FREE field trips—including busing—for East Hartford, Manchester, and Rockville/Vernon schools.

  • Reserve your field trip or outreach program today by calling Kate Ebner, Director of Educational Programs, at 860.677.4787 ext. 142 or email ebnerk@hillstead.org.

These free programs are made possible by the generosity of the SBM Charitable Foundation, which awarded Hill-Stead Museum $32,500 in support of educational programming.

The SBMCF is delighted to continue our funding support of the Museum to provide such a wonderfully successful education enrichment program for East of the River students

Doreen H. Downham, Executive Director of SBM Charitable Foundation, Inc.

Get out of the classroom

Tours and activities at Hill-Stead Museum are customized to provide an unparalleled educational experience. Last year, over 800 students participated in this dependable and unique program. The museum plans to serve the same number of students during the 2017-2018 school year.

Get your art on!

Participating schools will benefit from museum visits, hands-on art and/or writing projects, transportation, and outreach programming, without cost, and all designed to support teachers of Art, English, French and History.

Get moving!

Reserve your field trip or outreach program todayPlease call Kate Ebner, Director of Educational Programs, at 860.677.4787 ext. 142 or email ebnerk@hillstead.org.

On behalf of Hill-Stead Museum, we are truly grateful for our partnership and looking forward to providing learning opportunities for you and your students.

Save the Stone Wall

Donate Now
The beautiful landscape of Farmington’s Hill-Stead is defined by its iconic stone walls. The walls were built from area basalt and trap rock, as well as stones from the farms that had previously been on the property.

A part of the stone wall surrounding the Sunken Garden will soon be in need of some critical care and must be rebuilt.

We are looking for $50 from 300 heroes to meet a $15,000 goal to help fund this essential repair.

  • Every donation will be used to support the stone wall restoration.
  • Please make a gift today, and thank you for helping to preserve the stone walls of Hill-Stead.

30% Off Event Rentals Through 2017

Book Your Event Now

The historic 1901 Hill-Stead estate offers unique indoor gathering spaces with a residential feel and outdoor sites with breathtaking vistas.

Five elegant venues offer flexible space to fit the needs of a variety of occasions, from holiday gatherings and cocktail parties to corporate meetings and events.To learn more, visit Facility Rentals or contact Sarah Wadsworth 860.677.4787 x134

From Page to Stage: Broadway Costumes from the Goodspeed Musicals Collection

September 21, 2017 – January 1, 2018

Special Costume-focused Tours will be offered each week on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11:15 am, 12:15 pm and 1:15 pm; or by special appointment.

Purchase Tickets

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This special exhibition of Broadway costumes throughout the historic house is on view from September 21 through January 1, 2018. It honors the Pope Family’s enjoyment of literature, poetry and live performances, particularly theater and opera.

The time period of the shows featured mirror the years 1901 to 1946 when the Pope family resided in Farmington and features vignettes of costumes with accessories and archival ephemera. View magnificent costumes from shows such as Showboat, Anything Goes, Pirates of Penzance, Carousel, and Kiss Me, Kate, as well as lesser-known productions. Original theater programs on loan from the American Musical Theater Collection at Yale University Library and period sound recordings will add an extra dimension to this unique experience throughout the museum.


Purchase/RESERVE Tickets

From Page to Stage Tours

Special Costume-focused Tours will be offered each week on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11:15 am, 12:15 pm and 1:15 pm; or by special appointment.

  • $15 Adults, $12 seniors and students, $8 children 6 to 12, FREE for Museum Members, LGA Members, CT Art Trail Passport holders, and children under 6. Not a member?  Join Now!
  • Advanced tickets are required to guarantee a spot on each tour. Walk-ins will be welcomed based on availability.

The Combo-Tour Package allows visitors to purchase both the regular Hill-Stead house tour, Highlights of Hill-Stead, & From Page to Stage tour at a discounted price.  Costume-focused Tours will be offered each week on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11:15 am, 12:15 pm and 1:15 pm; or by special appointment.

  • $26 Adults, $20 seniors and students, $12 children 6 to 12, Free for Museum members and children under 6. Not a member?  Join Now!
  • Visitors who purchase a combo ticket can choose to do both tours on a single day, or return for the second type of tour on a later date.
  • Advanced tickets for the costume tours are required to guarantee a spot on each tour. Walk-ins will be welcomed based on availability.

Costume-focused Group Tours will be offered in addition to regular museum tours.  Groups of 10 or more receive $1 off per person whether they purchase the Page to Stage Tour or the Combo Tour.  Advanced reservations are required.

Related Programs

L’Affaire Musicale – From Page to Stage: Selections from Broadway’s Early Musicals
November 3

As part of this costume exhibition, Hill-Stead Museum presents a three-part musical series featuring live performances of Broadway hits during the years the Pope family resided at Hill-Stead.


In partnership with

Presented by

Elizabeth Ferry Speer Foundation

A New Pollinator Garden at Hill-Stead

By Lea Anne Moran, Garden Manager

What is a pollinator garden, you might ask? Aren’t all gardens good for pollinators? It’s nice to think that, but it’s not necessarily so.

Pollinator Garden at Hill-Stead

A honey bee on the heirloom garden heliotrope in the Sunken Garden.

For the past three decades, visitors to Hill-Stead Museum have grown to love and appreciate the scenic historic Sunken Garden, easily viewed from the top of the steps. Those who venture down are often surprised to see the multitude of bees, butterflies, birds, and moths enjoying themselves among the plants. There are some plants in the garden that the bees just love: the many varieties of purple and blue salvia are among their favorites. Some they like to look at, but not touch, like the pink and white Japanese anemone. I’ve watched bees hover and dance around these pretty, bouncing flowers, but after a look or maybe a sniff, they fly on to the next bed for a tastier treat.

So then, what is a pollinator garden? It is one that contains plants that provide nectar and pollen for pollinators, and offers a place for them to
call home. Master Gardener interns and graduates have been hard at work planning a new pollinator garden on the museum grounds that will serve this purpose. Not only will it be a habitat and food source for bees, butterflies and others, it will be a beautiful and colorful garden for visitors to explore. And the best thing is that it will make use of a long-forgotten space that was once a productive greenhouse for the Pope and Riddle families. At its peak, it was filled with bedding plants grown from seed for the gardens on the property and provided plants and blooms for the home. What better way to use the space than to fill it once again with beautiful blooms, climbing vines and flowering shrubs?

Pollinator Garden at Hill-Stead

An early image of one of three greenhouses on the Hill-Stead grounds.

The old stone foundation of the greenhouse still stands strong but has been overgrown with vines, poison ivy and tree seedlings. It is tucked behind the stone garage, the low stone building facing the Pope house that you drive past to get to the parking lot. You can get to these “ruins” through a vine-covered opening in the high stone wall at the southeast side of the Sunken Garden. Only the curious have ventured there in the past, but it will soon be the home of a bountiful, colorful garden for visitors to explore and appreciate.


Pollinator Garden at Hill-Stead

Master gardeners hard at work laying the cardboard and landscape fabric over the poison ivy and other weeds.

This past year, a team of Master Gardener interns led by Lora Madorin, Susan Caron and Lea Anne Moran developed a plan for the space. They considered carefully the historic aspect of the site, and their research for plant material included studying invoices found in the archives for plants that would have been grown there. They scoured the long lists of pollinator-friendly plants currently available on the market and have put together a “wish list.”

Clearing the land has been the biggest hurdle. The area was filled with poison ivy that had to be addressed first. Several options were considered, and in the end, layers of landscape fabric and cardboard were laid as a first line of defense. This spring, the group assessed the area and began soil preparation.

The Master Gardeners are seeking plant donations and have many ideas for future educational programs. Keep an eye out for updates on this revitalized outdoor space at Hill-Stead.

Billy Collins is Sold Out!

Information for ticket holders

We are excited to welcome you to the Sunken Garden on Wednesday, June 21 for Billy Collins at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival.  Please note the following:


Please carpool to the Poetry Festval. Parking will fill to capacity. Beginning at 4 pm, We will run a shuttle bus to and from the parking lot of a local business park located at 1690 New Britain Avenue in Farmington – just minutes away from Hill-Stead. Once Hill-Stead’s lots are filled, visitors must park in the shuttle lot at 1690 New Britain Avenue in Farmington or find parking within walking distance of the Festival. Pay close attention to “no parking” signs on side streets and park only where it is legal and safe to do so.


Pay attention to the weather. In the event of steady rain, the festival takes place under an event tent in Hill-Stead’s Kitchen Garden. In that case, we would expect an overflow of visitors, so please dress in layers and grab an umbrella and poncho if rain is predicted. This event is rain or shine – there will be no refunds issued for weather.


We are pleased to offer you three dining choices this evening: Iron & Grain, Co. and Avon Prime Meats will be located on the front lawn, and Culteavo in The Tea Room located on the east side of the Garden in the Stone Garage. We will also have a bartender serving red and white wine in the Garden. You are welcome to bring your own picnic dinners and beverages to enjoy on the grounds and in the Garden.


The Prelude Interview with Colin McEnroe and Billy Collins will begin at 5 pm in the Garden on the main Poetry stage. Music and poetry performances will begin at 6.

See you in the garden!