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Three Things to Know – January 14, 2021

In the spirit of our tech-driven times, I am honored to bring you the eighth installment of “Hill-Stead Museum’s Three Things to Know” to kick-off 2021.

Straight out of the starting gate, Hill-Stead was featured on Better Connecticut this week on CBS (Ch3/WFSB). We should all be proud to see our beloved cultural hub gaining such well-deserved visibility with 5:30 minutes of television airtime.

1 Winter on the Hill nature and arts program has been such a success that the program continues in 2021 with both in-person and virtual programming. In tribute to Martin Luther King Day, we are pleased to offer students a free one-hour program on January 18 at 11 am (grades 3–5) or 1 pm. (grades 6–8). The virtual session includes both independent and collaborative art-making led by Hill-Stead’s resident artist and education specialist, Rachel Cutler. During the engaging workshop, the students will reflect on Martin Luther King’s legacy by analyzing his words and dreams with those of Hill-Stead’s founder, Theodate Pope Riddle.

There will be back-to-back in-person sessions of Winter on the Hill at Hill-Stead on February 15 & 16 from 1-4 p.m. to coincide with President’s Day vacation time.

2 Hill-Stead is carrying on with its 2020 practice of joining hands with fellow arts organizations. This time, we join Capital Classics Theatre Company in presenting Contemporary Classics Conversations on Saturday, January 23, 2021, at 7:30 pm. The event is complimentary, and all are welcome to join us via Zoom for an insightful and lively evening of conversation inspired by Athol Fugard’s one-act play, Victory. Set in New South Africa, following the first free election in 1994, Victory features two adolescents discovered while robbing a home. Their discovery leads to a night of dialogue, revealing the hardships of living in apartheid-created poverty. Capital Classics Theatre Company artists will perform scene readings examining the despair of many young Black citizens in South Africa who see little prospect of a constructive future. Between excerpts, the audience will discuss the play’s themes and their relevance and resemblance to our world today.

3We are excited to announce Hill-Stead’s very first Walktail Hour on Saturday, January 30, from 3:30–5:30 pm. with an inclement weather date of Sunday, January 31 (same timing). Enjoy the Hill-Stead’s gorgeous grounds as you safely sip and stroll during the magical sunset hour while taking in the breathtaking views of our outdoor masterpiece. Admission will be free, with beverages available for purchase from The Liquorist on-site in their mobile bar (once a 1970’s horse trailer!). Imagine a beautiful sunset, a warm, delicious drink, stretching your legs, together with a loved one in the refreshing early evening air – the perfect end-of-day antidote to the winter blues!

Best always,

Visit Hill-Stead!

Daily Tours

Visits to the house are by guided tour only

  • Hill-Stead Guides lead tours on the hour—the last tour begins 3 pm
  • Tours offered on a first-come, first-serve; purchase tickets on arrival; no more than 16 people per tour
  • We are temporarily pausing our Exclusive Private Tours; updates will be posted on the website later in the spring.
  • Hill-Stead’s gorgeous grounds and garden open free to the public daily from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm
  • Hill-Stead is now open for both in-person and online field trips  BOOK NOW
  • Please review Hill-Stead’s extensive safety measures to keep its visitors safe via the reopening plan


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.

Please note: 
  •  There are no self-paced tours at this time
  • There are no school group visits at this time
  • Due to construction, we only have portable bathrooms available to the public onsite
  • The Museum Shop is closed

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

Construction update – January 5, 2021

To the New

While many of us were enjoying some quiet time and staycations over the holidays, renovation work at the Hill-Stead continued to make impressive progress.

To celebrate this new year, we are delighted to have a new concrete floor in the carriage barn in the space that, just a few weeks ago resembled a rocky moonscape, will soon become our beautiful art gallery!

These photographs show a satisfying progression of beginning, middle, and end.

And there is just as much work happening outdoors as inside. Again, reveling in the new, we dig deep trenches for the electric and conductivity channels to power the renovated spaces and provide for new lighting, climate control, security, communications, and the internet.

New Year and new possibilities, here we come!!

Dr. Anna Swinbourne Continue reading

Communicating with the Spirts on Grating the Nutmeg

Kicking off 2021 with a new episode of Grating the Nutmeg on Hill-Stead founder Theodate Pope and her fascination with Spiritualism.

Please tune in to hear a lovely podcast with our curator Melanie Bourbeau and Mary M. Donohue, Assistant Publisher of Connecticut Explored.

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Hill-Stead CARES

Dear Friends,

Amid the many challenges of 2020, we are immensely grateful for having a community like no other. As we look towards a better tomorrow, we appreciate your support in these final weeks of the year. Your contributions to the Annual Fund will continue to bring vibrant arts and educational programming to life at our treasured Hill-Stead, enriching the lives of future generations.

Photo of Noah Wallace Elementary School’s first-grade class enjoying The Nutcracker Reimagined by Ballet Theater Company (BTC) yesterday at Hill-Stead.

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Three Things to Know – December 9, 2020

In the spirit of our tech-driven times, I am honored to bring you the seventh installment of “Hill-Stead Museum’s Three Things to Know” on this crisp December day.

1 First, it is my pleasure to report that visitors are enjoying The Nutcracker Reimagined by Ballet Theatre Company two weeks into the exhibition. NBC national news ran a segment on the show last Friday across all 12 major markets, including Connecticut, New York, and Boston. We should all be proud to gain positive press for pulling off yet another incredible initiative amid the pandemic. Continue reading

Hill-Stead Receives “We’re Pulling for You” Grant from SBM Charitable Foundation

Hill-Stead Receives “We’re Pulling for You” Grant from SBM Charitable Foundation, Affording East of the River Students Free Educational Opportunities

The SBM Charitable Foundation (SBMCF) has awarded Hill-Stead a “We’re Pulling for You” grant for $9,783.00 in support of the “Art, Poetry, and History at Hill-Stead Museum” program for area students in East Hartford, Vernon, and Manchester. It will supplement the initial $24,130 grant awarded in 2019, unexpectedly upended due to coronavirus.

Dr. Anna Swinbourne says, “SBM Charitable Foundation’s generous funding is the backbone of our educational programs. Hill-Stead is deeply grateful for SBMCF’s continued commitment to supporting educational programs through its funding for art, history, and poetry at our diverse and dynamic institution.”

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Giving Tuesday

Very quickly during the early days of the pandemic, Hill-Stead became my sanctuary and favorite destination. When area walking trails became over-run with crowds, Hill-Stead opened its stunning grounds to the public. [Some days] I’d simply wander on the trails and try to forget about viruses and politics and racial injustice for an hour. I always drove back home with my emotional and physical batteries recharged.Anne Stanback, Member and longtime Hill-Stead program attendee

Hill-Stead’s 152-acre estate was once home to a working farm and six-hole golf course. Our founder, Theodate Pope Riddle’s prized cows, enjoyed the lush grass. Her father, Alfred, delighted in walking out of his office to tee off in the late afternoon.

Now, the estate welcomes the public, including dog-walkers, families, and schoolchildren alike. Hill-Stead recently hosted a free community Halloween on the Hill event for more than 600, unlike anything we have ever done before. Concerts on the West Lawn filled the summer with music, laughter, and community enrichment, bringing the live arts to over 2,500 patrons. Hill-Stead’s grounds are open daily for everyone to enjoy, and they have been well-loved this year! To learn more, please visit our Annual Fund page.

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