Director’s Message – March 1, 2021

Dear Friends,

Hello March! In like a lion…
We at Hill-Stead, and I as an astrological Leo, are roaring with delight to announce that Kathanne Fowler has joined our team as Chief Philanthropy Officer!

In addition to her work in corporate and private banking, Kathanne brings us decades of experience in knowledgeable and successful stewardship. Since returning to the area from the United Kingdom in 2002, she has faithfully supported the development and strategic planning of many important local institutions, from Hartford Hospital to schools including Ethel Walker, Kingswood Oxford, and Hartford Art School. She has even devoted her time and talents to Hill-Stead, having served on the museum’s Board of Governors from 2004 to 2010. And her work in the field extends far beyond Connecticut to the 1990 Institute in San Francisco, the National Collegiate Equestrian Association, and her alma mater, Williams College in Massachusetts.

We simply could not be happier about her serving Hill-Stead in this critical role. Kathanne beginning now, in this special 75th year and at this incredible moment of exciting growth, is perfect! (those who know me know that I almost never use that “p” word.)

Please join me in welcoming her and roaring three cheers for Hill-Stead!

Now with a nod to March’s out like a lamb…
We invite you all to come visit, as this month brings the miracle and wonder of new life in the form of the little lambies that will arrive in our pastures. Those irresistible babies will soon be running adorably around the field next to the barn!

To honor them and Theodate’s farming legacy, we will host our first sheep to shawl festival, The Art of Shearing, on Sunday, March 27. With hayrides shuttling between the barns and the museum, visitors can observe every step in the process of turning a sheep’s winter coat into a piece of wearable clothing. For details and tickets, please see our website.
Purchase Tickets
Looking forward to seeing you there!
warmly,

Anna

Dr. Anna Swinbourne
Executive Director & CEO

 

Director’s Message – February 2, 2021

Dear Friends,

We love February 2nd at Hill-Stead. Not because it is groundhog’s day, but because it is our founder’s birthday! This year, 2/2/22 is doubly special because the museum turns 75 – our diamond anniversary!

We’ve used the hunkered-down past few weeks to make big plans for celebrating this milestone…

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Director’s Message – December 28, 2021

Dear Friends,

During the short days and long nights of late, as many best-laid plans have gone kerfluey again, my mind keeps returning to the power of choices and how grateful I am to have them.

I think also about the ways Hill-Stead has chosen to respond to the ever-changing circumstances of our pandemic-era lives: our team’s decision, again and again, to turn Why into Why Not, openly and bravely facing whatever that brings; and our survivor’s refusal to throw in the towel despite the seemingly endless waves of challenge.

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Director’s Message – November 27, 2021

Dear Friends,

Sometimes I don’t make it, but I try hard to count my blessings every day. This includes the many –no, better– countless quiet words of thanks for the people who also believe Hill-Stead is incredible and worthy of our love and support.

Three of these people are stepping forward now, to collectively fund a matching gift of $7,500 for this year’s Giving Tuesday. An artist, a professor, and a local parent of school-aged children – perfectly aligned with our annual fund pillars of art, education, and the future – are each donating $2,500 to inspire our donors to match their support this upcoming Tuesday, November 30. I find their leading gesture, in line with the “in it together” spirit of our times, beautiful and humbling. And now I say more quiet words of enormous thanks. Continue reading

Director’s Message – November 1, 2021

Dear Friends,

The day after Halloween is usually slow-moving, as we shake out the cobwebs and off the candy hangover. But this November 1, I’m feeling energized, and slightly giddy, thinking ahead to the holiday season before us: a chance to gather in counting our blessings and to rejoice. Finally.

This season at Hill-Stead also brings our most important fundraising, the Annual Fund. For the Herculean task we face, of raising 90% of our operating budget every year, these donations are critically important. They are the biggest gear in our Hill-Stead engine, without which we simply could not run.

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Director’s Message – September 2, 2021

Dear Friends, 

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.

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Director’s Message – May 21, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I think my colleagues at HillStead were taken aback by how eagerly I jumped on their suggestion of tethered hot air balloon rides for this year’s gala dinners. They had no idea that my all-time favorite wedding reception included these magical experiences. Nor did they know how badly I needed a reminder of the beautiful wonders of our world.

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Director’s Message – March 30, 2021

Dear Friends,

The miracle of birth has arrived at Hill-Stead! We are delighted to introduce adorable Ulysses, the first of this year’s group of new lambs. (welcome to the world, little guy, we are trying to make it better for you!) With many more lambies expected in the coming weeks, we warmly invite you to come for a visit to see this natural wonder for yourselves, and if desired, to join our contest to name three of the newborns (or dedicate a trail or an outdoor bench) through our Healthy Living Campaign. Continue reading

Director’s Message – February 12, 2021

Dear Friends,

When the pandemic arrived and closed so much down, Hill-Stead pivoted to bring experiences of art and nature back into your lives. Now, February is bringing us snow, and we’re donning boots to dance (and make snow angels) in the winter wonderland, trying once again to create more ways to serve our visitors and spread some joy. To that end, we’ve launched winter winter walktails—a stroll through the grounds, on the arm of a pal, with a warm drink in hand—and, I’m giddy to announce, our first-ever snowman* building contest. Come to Hill-Stead in your outerwear, make the snowy creature of your dreams, and try for the prize! (For details on both events, please visit our Calendar.)

This new nimble reality of museum life – stop, quickly assess the conditions, acknowledge them as ever-changing, take a deep breath, and then respond, bravely! – has inspired some changes behind the scenes as well. I am thrilled to announce that Susan Orred will be stepping into a new role as Director of Public Programming at the museum. Not only did those types of outward-facing and community events, such as From the Porch, save our bacon last year, but they have also become one of the most vital and exciting aspects of our mission to serve the public. With her genuine enthusiasm for and deep knowledge of the museum, surpassed only by her devotion to it, Susan is the ideal person to lead this crucial path forward. Continue reading

Director’s Message – November 20, 2020

Dear Friends,

I hope this crisp November day finds you well. Looking ahead to Thanksgiving, the entire team here would like to express our immense gratitude for your continued passion and positivity for our beloved Hill-Stead.

This season, we are thankful that the museum remains open with the most stringent safety measures in place. Better yet, we are delighted to invite you to celebrate the holidays at Hill-Stead! We have joined hands with Ballet Theatre Company (BTC) to reimagine The Nutcracker. Winter festivities will include a memorable Through the Tulle exhibition paired with ballet performances in the Carriage Porch. Our masterpieces, such as Degas’ Dancers in Pink, will join both live dancers and stunning costumes as they together festively enliven the rooms of the historic house.

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