Our Carriage Barn renovation won the AIA Connecticut 2021 Elizabeth Mills Brown Excellence Award!
We are thrilled to update this story with joyous news: Hill-Stead’s renovation has won the 2021 Elizabeth Mills Brown Excellence Award from the Connecticut Chapter of the American Institute of Architects!
We believe that our founder, the architect Theodate Pope Riddle (1867–1946), who was an AIA member, would be exceptionally pleased by this recognition of design excellence in the adaptation and reuse of the historic carriage barn structures.
Hill-Stead is grateful to our partners, Centerbrook Architects and Planners, and collaborators who joined this successful team, including BVH/Salas O’Brien, George Sexton Associates, and PAC Group. Further, we appreciate the crucial support of the Connecticut Department of Economic Community Development and the State Historic Preservation Office. Together, we proudly – using the words of the jury – “…made an already exciting place even more exciting.”
The Richard P. Garmany Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving Provides Hill-Stead with $18,000 Grant for its Performing Arts Programming
L’Affaire Musicale Returns to Hill-Stead this Fall
Hill-Stead Museum’s L’Affaire Musicale returns to the historic Drawing Room on Friday, November 12. Ballard Chamber Collective will perform in this much-anticipated live concert, made possible by an $18,000 gift from The Richard P. Garmany Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. Hill-Stead is immensely grateful to the Garmany Fund for this generous support, which underwrites the Museum’s robust year-round calendar of musical performances, including this upcoming Musicale with classical selections from some of the world’s most celebrated composers.
According to David Polk, advisor for the Richard P. Garmany Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, “Hill-Stead Museum is one of the region’s most treasured and timeless resources. It deserves the support and appreciation of all of us in the greater Hartford community for its art, architecture, accessibility, beauty, history and health & wellness benefits. The Garmany Fund is proud to be a contributor in Hill-Stead’s ongoing success as it embarks on the new chapter.”
This upcoming L’Affaire Musicale will take place among some of the finest pieces in the museum’s collection, including works by Monet, Manet and Degas. This intimate and transporting setting is ideal for the appreciation of music. Furthermore, the performing arts illuminate the fine and decorative arts of the room, creating a stimulating dialogue between various times periods, cultures and art forms. Past performances have featured classical and contemporary styles, including jazz, opera, Broadway and the Great American Songbook. Ballard Chamber Collective, a string trio composed of Jaroslaw Lis (violin), Ari Isaacman-Beck (viola) and Ignacy Gaydamovich (cello), will headline the 2021 performance and present Beethoven’s Serenade Op.8 and Schubert’s Trio in B Flat Major D581.
On the brink of its 75th anniversary as a museum, Hill-Stead continues to offer enriching experiences and is fortunate to be sustained by such incredible supporters as the Richard P. Garmany Fund. The Fund was the leading supportive force behind Hill-Stead’s From the Porch, the multicultural performing arts series, a community-building venture that attracts an extraordinary number of new voices to Hill-Stead. In its second season, these uplifting performances of music, dance, film, spoken word and most recently, famed dance troupe Pilobolus brought much-needed light and joy during dark days.
Dr. Anna Swinbourne says, “We are tremendously grateful to the Garmany Fund. Its enduring and leading support makes it possible for Hill-Stead to host unique programs, with topnotch musical performances in exceptional settings, both indoors and out.”
The generous donation will also champion the renowned Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, which celebrates its 30th season in 2022. This one-of-a-kind event celebrates Poets Laureate, Pulitzer Prize winners and prestigious award recipients. The community cherishes this annual series of readings and music performances on the grounds of this National Historic Landmark in the heart of Farmington, CT. This year’s three-day festival took place on September 10-12, 2021. It featured inspiring presenting poets Jenny Xie, Martín Espada and current Connecticut Poet Laureate Margaret Gibson.
With the completion of its new Carriage Barns renovation project, Hill-Stead now boasts a brand-new exhibition gallery and a new media space ideal for topical and thought-provoking year-round presentations to engage learners of all ages.
I’ll admit that the end of summer might be my least favorite time of year. And it’s especially hard to say goodbye to the wonderful art- and fun-filled months we just had at the museum. Yet, as I look to Labor Day and another autumn of COVID, I cannot help but feel a crazy-deep gratitude for the grounds at Hill-Stead. They will carry us through. Again.
Up first on the front lawn will be a revamped Sunken Garden Poetry Festival. Over three consecutive days, September 10–12, we will proudly present the 29th annual program with an impressive roster of authors, musicians, and timely topics. Jennifer Xie, Martín Espada, and our state’s Poet Laureate, Margaret Gibson, will headline a poetry-packed weekend with readings, workshops, and musical performances. Their subjects will be of utmost relevance to our lives, whether in terms of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, climate change, or commentary on capital in many forms. You may choose to visit for one event, one day, or the whole weekend. Please see our website for details and timing, and consider joining us, to let the words of these talented artists dazzle, move, or possibly inspire you. Buy Festival Tickets!
Toward the end of the month, on Sunday the 26th, the wildly popular Walktails we hosted earlier in the year will return as a September Stroll. The idea remains the same, walk the grounds with a seasonal beverage and fun companion or two, but the backdrop will be all new. Forget the freezing February cold or March muck, and imagine stunning (likely breathtaking) foliage as far as your eyes can see.
And because new is especially good during pandemic conditions that seem endless, we also added new elements. For those visitors who purchase, or have purchased this year, a Silver membership, there will be the opportunity to take an exclusive guided tour after the sun goes down for a rare nighttime visit inside the museum with the chance to see the world-class paintings glow under evening light. And for those who purchase membership at the highest level, Gold, we will offer something rarer still: a chance to watch the sunset from the roof of the veranda, where very few can and have appreciated that overwhelmingly beautiful experience.
CT Summer at the Museum is part of Governor Lamont’s larger plan to use recovery funds to provide students and families with engaging summer enrichment and learning experiences in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Connecticut children age 18 and under plus one accompanying Connecticut resident adult can visit participating museums free of charge through the Connecticut Summer at the Museum program.
This program is geared towards families exploring together, not large camp groups.
The children and the accompanying adult must reside in Connecticut.
Proof of residency may be required (i.e. CT driver’s license or ID card) by a participating museum.
Please make sure you check each museum for online advance ticketing and reservations, as they may be required.
Participating museums have discretion to administer the CT Summer at the Museum program to the best of their ability and according to their needs. Certain restrictions may apply and capacity may be limited. (i.e. limit to one adult per household, block-out dates, exclusions for special events, etc.) Be sure to check with each museum to learn of any restrictions before visiting.
Hill-Stead Museum Completes Its Carriage Barns Restoration!
Hill-Stead Museum executive director Dr. Anna Swinbourne announced at a June 22 ribbon-cutting ceremony, together with Governor Lamont, Bank of America, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and Hill-Stead’s Trustees & Board of Governors that the ambitious transformative renovation project to expand and elevate the institution has taken a major step forward with the completion of its Carriage Barns renovation and the public launch of Bringing Art to Life, its $6.9 million capital & endowment campaign.
“Hill-Stead has become a thriving home for arts, culture, and education, welcoming visitors from across the state and around the globe,” said Governor Ned Lamont. “Spurred by the need to address rotating exhibitions in conversation with its world-class collection, more than a million visitors since its opening in 1947 and an increasingly robust schedule of public programs, the building project will add significant capacity to serve diverse audiences.”
The announcement coincides with a lead gift of $500,000 from Bank of America—the largest corporate gift in the Museum’s history. “Bank of America believes in the power of the arts to help communities thrive, educate and enrich our society and create greater cultural understanding,” said Joe Gianni, President, Bank of America of Greater Hartford. “We are proud to be part of Hill-Stead’s growth into a nationally recognized epicenter for arts and educational initiatives, and this transformative gift underscores the institution’s key role in our community.”
Renowned architect Centerbrook Architects & Planners, a longtime partner in enhancing the Museum’s facility, steered the renovation. Project leads were Chad Floyd, principal; and Charles Mueller, senior director and principal of Centerbrook; Paul Campanelli, Joseph Sosnicki, and Carl Cote of PAC Group LLC. Construction began in September 2020 and culminated in June 2021 with a dramatic new presence for the Museum which maintains its historic footprint.
Total project costs were approximated at $4.3 million to fund the renovation of its existing spaces; an additional $2.6 million will expand its endowment and support operations, exhibitions and programming. To date, the campaign has raised more than $5.7 million through gifts received and pledges as it now moves into its public phase, chaired by Marie O’Brien.
“We are elated by the swift progress of the campaign and grateful for the tremendous generosity of our donors,” said Dr. Swinbourne. “With Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development’s initial support of $1.75M along with Bank of America’s remarkable anchor gift, our public and private supporters have demonstrated their commitment to our vision for the future and the continued vitality of our beloved cultural hub. The state-of-the-art new space allows us to present compelling, rotating exhibitions and unique programming and to make Hill-Stead an even more vibrant center for meaningful learning experiences.”
Hill-Stead Museum received support for this project in part from the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program (CGS &10416c) administered by SHPO, an organization within the Department of Economic and Community Development. Eversource Energy was the purchaser of the state historic tax credits. Hill-Stead is deeply grateful for significant support from Caroline C. Edwards, Agnes Gund, Susan Gerbi McIlwain, Trumbull Family Foundation and William H. & Marianne Watson. Generous support has come from Hill-Stead’s Trustees & Board of Governors, as well as other philanthropic-minded families, corporate funders and foundations.
Decades of planning and incremental support from devoted donors underlie the project’s completion. Without altering its footprint, the historic Carriage Barns have now been transformed into an exhibition gallery and a new media space for topical and thought-provoking presentations. The renovation adds a 1,300 square-foot beautiful exhibition gallery, a new media space, a gorgeous terrace for public and private gatherings, a more welcoming public entrance and a thoughtfully-curated museum shop. The physical transformation will help preserve and empower Hill-Stead for generations to come with year-round exhibitions and public programming.
On the brink of its 75th anniversary, Hill-Stead Museum and its entire 152-acre campus received designation as a national historic landmark earlier this year. The Museum’s historic house has held this distinction since 1991. Hill-Stead was the first architectural project of founder Theodate Pope Riddle (1867–1946), one of the first licensed female architects in the U.S. and an early proponent of historic preservation. A love poem to her parents, the Colonial Revival mansion with its 152 acres of gardens and grounds and a treasure trove of Impressionist paintings by Manet, Monet, Degas, Whistler, and Cassatt has welcomed over a million visitors since opening to the public in 1947. Hill-Stead now unveils its new renovation project to ensure its extraordinary legacy.
Hill-Stead held an incredible ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, June 22! Together with Governor Lamont, Bank of America, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and Hill-Stead’s Trustees & Board of Governors, the team announced to a standing-room-only audience that the ambitious, transformative renovation project to expand and elevate the institution has taken a major step forward with the completion of its Carriage Barns renovation.
The announcement coincided with a lead gift of $500,000 from Bank of America—the largest corporate gift in the Museum’s history. We are ever grateful!
Please continue to support Bringing Art to Life as we launch the public phase of our $6.9 million capital & endowment campaign.
Photographs by Bread & Beast Photographer
Bringing Art to Life – Hill-Stead’s 75th Anniversary Capital and Endowment Campaign
Please read our Case Statement validating the importance of this renovation to the future of Hill-Stead for generations to come!
Guided tours of the Pope Riddle House are offered Wednesday through Sunday, every hour on the hour from 10 am to 4 pm with the last tour at 3 pm; closed major holidays (Easter Sunday, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day).
Tickets may be purchased at the museum on a first-come, first-serve basis; no more than 16 people per tour.
To keep our museum accessible to all, Hill-Stead participates in the Blue Star Museums, Museums for All, AAA and Connecticut Art Trail programs.
Museum Members are always free. Not a Member? JOIN NOW
Members | FREE Adults | $18 AAA & Seniors (62+) | $16 Students | $12 Children 6-12 | $10 Children under 6 | FREE
Museum Members are always FREE! Not a Member? JOIN NOW
Special Admission Programs
As a Blue Star Museum, Hill-Stead offers active-duty military families FREE admission from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and museums across America.
Hill-Stead is a part of the Museums for All program and offers FREE admission for up to four people to with the presentation of a SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. Museums for All is a cooperative initiative between Association of Children’s Museums and Institute of Museum and Library Services to offer a program that encourages families of all backgrounds to visit museums regularly and build lifelong museum habits.
Hill-Stead is a member of the Connecticut Art Trail. Discover Connecticut’s artistic treasures with the Connecticut Art Trail Art Passport. The $25 Art Passport includes one admission to each of the 20 member museums per year. Explore diverse, quality collections rich in history and heritage, including European masterpieces, American Impressionism, ancient art and contemporary culture.
The safety of staff and visitors is our highest priority.
To ensure a safe, inspiring experience for all, we’ve adopted new health and safety protocols. You’ll find everything you need to know about your next visit below.
Social distancing best practices are in place. All persons entering the building will be required to wear a face mask covering at all times.
Always wear a facemask and make sure it fits over your nose and mouth
Practice safe social distancing. Please keep six feet between yourself and others (outside your party)
Please wash/sanitize your hands at our sanitizing stations
A limited number of visitors will be permitted at one time
A one-way flow of traffic will be required in the House
Contactless payment is available and encouraged
Please let us know if you or another member of your party have traveled outside of Connecticut in the past 14 days or experiencing fever, chills, cough, or any other symptoms