NYT says “Yes” to Hill-Stead


Dear Friends,

We wanted to share this exciting news—hot off the press! The New York Times said, “Yes” to Hill-Stead!

They accepted our proposal for a wedding story! Magdalena and Brett Day’s beautiful elopement took place in Hill-Stead’s Sunken Garden on Cinco de Mayo at the end of our incredible Giving Tuesday Now (May 5, 2020). The story appeared as a ¼ color-page feature in today’s Vows Section and posted online.

On a related note, a lovely couple out on an evening stroll at Hill-Stead offered their congratulations to the Day’s. Both had married at Hill-Stead on precisely the same day—albeit four decades apart! What sweet serendipity!

Congratulations again to Magdalena and Brett Day! Hill-Stead remains open for small, properly socially distanced, outdoor events. For more information, please contact Jennifer Mooney, Manager of Private Events & Corporate Functions (860-677-4787 ext. 134, or mooneyj@hillstead.org)

We are eager to hear from you. Your questions, ideas, and inspirations are welcome. Leave a comment on a post relevant to the topic or email brettb@hillstead.org.

We will strive to respond to questions as soon as possible, generally within 24 hours.

Best wishes,

Beth Brett
Director of Communications and Marketing

2020 Fresh Voices Poetry Competition Finalists

2020 Fresh Voices Poetry Competition

Thank you to all the high school students who participated in Hill-Stead Museum’s Fresh Voices Poetry competition and the teachers and parents who supported them. Poetry has the power to heal and bring comfort, particularly during these trying times.

United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo attests to this statement: “Poetry tends to hang out at points of transformation…when a death happens in the family, or some other grief event, or marriage, or falling in love, or falling out of love, birth—people always turn to poetry.”

Hill-Stead is thrilled to announce the 2020 Fresh Voices Poetry Competition Finalists, congratulations to:
  • Haneen Alkabasi, Avon High School
  • Alicia Chiu, William H. Hall High School
  • Jake Colangelo, Joel Barlow High School
  • Holden Escabi, Wethersfield High School
  • Ashton Hamre, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts
  • Hannah Kim, Glastonbury High School
  • Rose Kitz, William H. Hall High School
  • Alexandra Melo, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts
  • Maggie Munday Odom, The Grove School
  • Olatunji Osho-Williams, Westminster School
  • Connie Pan, Lyme-Old Lyme High School
  • Sophia Ramirez, Wilton High School
  • Melanie Trotochaud, Marine Science Magnet High School
  • Cindy Troung, Educational Center for the Arts
  • Charlotte Watts, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts
  • Lauren Young, Trinity Catholic High School

Hill-Stead Museum would like to thank this year’s Fresh Voices judges, David Caldwell, David K. Leff, and Amy Nawrocki.  The judges are currently reviewing the poems by the finalists. Fresh Voices readers, Kate Doemland of Miss Porter’s School, and Jamie Perry of Avon Old Farms School thoughtfully recommended the sixteen finalists from nearly 50 poetry submissions.

Covid-19 Update

Due to COVID-19, Hill-Stead Museum doors remain closed for the foreseeable future. Our first priority is the health and safety of our visitors, staff, volunteers, and neighbors.

We are working to reschedule as many programs and events as possible, and look forward to updating you on those plans in the future.

Hill-Stead Museum’s gardens and grounds remain open from 7:30 am to sunset for all to enjoy, providing a place of refuge during these trying times. With 152-acres, kindly keep your social distance as we work together to reduce the spread of Coronavirus.

Come and enjoy a walk, a hike, or sit in the Sunken Garden among the birds and blooms. Let’s turn to the marvels of nature, and their awesome power to help us through.

Budding Photographers Photo Contest Winners

We are delighted to announce the winners of Hill-Stead Museum’s Budding Photographers Contest

We hope you enjoyed participating in this fun-filled contest while experiencing Hill-Stead’s glorious grounds this spring. Thanks, too, for those who voted on the competition and helped Hill-Stead exceed its goal, raising $2,825. Please stay tuned for news about our upcoming summer photo contest.

Congratulations to our winners in the following categories:


Winner  Joyce B. | From a Distance
Runner-up  Donna W. | The Colors of Spring
Second Runner-up  Azeem S.  | The Grandeur

Landscapes & Horizons

Winner  Gabriella R. | A Hint of Spring
Runner-up  David C. | Croquet Sunset
Second Runner-up  Kate E. | Rainbow

Living Things

Winner Donna H. | At the Pond
Runner-up Maddie M.| Lambs at the Hill-Stead Museum
Second Runner-up Gary A. | Grazing Sheep & Lamb

Each of the first-place winners will receive a 9×12 print of their winning photo and a gift certificate worth up to $75 from Farmington Frame. All of the winners will receive a Hill-Stead Museum membership along with a $20 gift certificate to Hill-Stead’s shop.

Giving Tuesday Now

“We have been gifted with a phenomenal and irreplaceable treasure. We are Hill-Stead’s stewards, responsible for assuring that others will continue to be able to enjoy the Hill-Stead Museum’s unique offerings. How can we not respond to securing its future?”

—Nina Mayhall Hayes

Everyone wins when you support Hill-Stead Museum. During these trying times, art can keep us together. Throughout these turbulent times, our gorgeous 152-acre property has remained open every day, providing a place of refuge for all.

At this moment, Hill-Stead has extended its hands further–offering meaningful creative outlets–to uplift the spirit. And, we have engaged our performing arts partners by offering up the glorious property as a potential venue for outdoor performances–all with the goal of bringing more cultural opportunities to our collective community.

On May 5, 2020, Hill-Stead will join with thousands of non-profits to participate in Giving Tuesday Now, an international day of charitable giving to support non-profit organizations which have been impacted by the loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our goal for this special day of giving is $7,500. Liberty Bank has generously partnered with Hill-Stead and offered a challenge to match this goal. We are grateful for Liberty Bank’s matching gift and yours, which will provide us with the ability to sustain us into the future.

“We are immensely grateful to Liberty Bank, who not only partnered with us on Giving Tuesday Now but helped us with a PPP loan during these trying times,” says Anna Swinbourne, Hill-Stead Museum’s CEO & Executive Director. “I was incredibly impressed with the exemplary service we received from Joseph Raycraft, Liberty Bank’s Vice President, Senior Commercial Relationship Manager.”

Help us reach the goal! Every gift will make an impact! And there’s no need to wait until May 5, make your gift today!


If you have difficulty connecting, feel free to call Hill-Stead staff at 860-402-4798.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram throughout the day for progress updates

About Liberty Bank

Established in 1825, Liberty Bank is Connecticut’s oldest bank, with over $6 billion in assets and 60 banking offices throughout the central, eastern, western and shoreline areas of the state. As a full-service financial institution, Liberty offers consumer and commercial banking, home mortgages, insurance, and investment services. Named ‘Top Workplace’ by the Hartford Courant for eight consecutive years, Liberty maintains a longstanding commitment to superior personal service and unparalleled community involvement.

About Giving Tuesday Now

Giving Tuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world, taking place on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past seven years, this idea has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. #GivingTuesdayNow is a new global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 – in addition to the regularly scheduled Dec 1, 2020 #GivingTuesday – as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.

Hill-Stead Museum Announces New Communications and Marketing Director

Seasoned Communications Strategist Beth Brett Brings Extensive Getty Museum Experience to Farmington

Dr. Anna Swinbourne, Executive Director & CEO of Hill-Stead Museum, announced today the appointment of Beth Brett to the position of Director of Communications and Marketing. Mrs. Brett will join the Museum effective immediately.

In her new role, Mrs. Brett will meet the strategic goals of the storied institution as it enters its exciting next chapter by managing Hill-Stead’s brand, sharing its initiatives, and connecting it to the greater community through meaningful and authentic communications. Her appointment is particularly timely as the National Historic Landmark expands its audiences in the coming years through a major renovation project, resulting in new temporary exhibition space and expanded programming.

From 2004-2011, Mrs. Brett was a lead publicist for The J. Paul Getty Trust, where she forged strategic partnerships and managed public relations for every major program at the world-renowned arts institution. She went on to serve as Communications Director for Los Angeles Tourism, where she oversaw signature programs such as Discover the Arts and dineLA. Since 2012, Mrs. Brett has operated her arts and lifestyle agency with clients including Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Pacific Design Center, Barnsdall Art Park, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, L.A.’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A graduate of Princeton University, Beth began her career in the arts and cultural division of entertainment agency Serino Coyne, where she worked on creative campaigns for live entertainment brands. With a master’s degree from Stanford’s Journalism School, Beth has bylined articles for The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and ESPN the Magazine.

Most recently, she penned an op-ed piece for March 8th edition of The Hartford Chronicle wherein she writes “Having worked at the J. Paul Getty Museum for eight years, I am now smitten with the Hill-Stead Museum’s impressive collections and gardens…”  Dr. Swinbourne commented: “We are delighted to welcome Beth Brett as the Museum’s new Director of Communications and Marketing. As we embrace a dynamic phase when Hill-Stead closes in on its 75th anniversary and the site embarks on a transformative journey, Beth brings the expertise, creativity, and risk-taking necessary to take the visibility of this vital institution to the next level. All of us look forward to welcoming her to the executive team and working closely with her on the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

Beth Brett stated, “It is a great privilege to join the executive team of Hill-Stead to champion this cultural center in the heart of the Farmington Valley, especially during its 75th-anniversary celebration and beyond.”

Hill-Stead’s Grounds and Gardens Hours Extended

Any hour. Any season. Any weather. That’s when Hill-Stead’s grounds are most beautiful

For the foreseeable future, our glorious grounds and gardens are open for all to enjoy from 7:30am to sunset. With plentiful room to roam, please keep your social distance as we work together to reduce the spread of Coronavirus.

Come and enjoy spring on our grounds – for a walk, a hike, or simply sit in the Sunken Garden to listen to the returning birds.

Let’s turn to the marvels of nature, and their awesome power to help us through.