Three Things to Know – May 12, 2020

Dear Friends,

In the spirit of our tech-driven times, I am delighted to bring you a monthly update dedicated to “Hill-Stead Museum’s Three Things to Know,” from me, our new director of communications and marketing.

1. Extra, Extra! I am thrilled to share the first of many great stories about how our cultural destination is innovating during the pandemic on NBC News. I gave NBC’s digital producer an exclusive interview with Hill-Stead’s Executive Director Anna Swinbourne as well as resident shepherdess Bobbie Emery for the announcement of our interactive Virtual Sheep Experiences.

Bobbie Emery and her business partner Anne Foss are the owners of Clatter Ridge Farm. And, it is their Shetland sheep that graze on Hill-Stead’s historic grounds. This spring, we welcomed nearly 30 lambs, and they are now ready to visit you via Zoom! The sweet farm animals are available for work happy hours, corporate conference calls, school field trips, or family get-togethers. All offerings ranging from $25-$250 can be gifted, too, for a memorable and meaningful surprise. Please visit our website to book your sheep experience today!

2. Speaking of sheep, we are pleased to announce the winning bidder of fine artist Kate Emery’s original oil painting, After the Storm. Kate is Bobbie’s sister, and her impressive work depicts the historic barns at Hill-Stead and the flock of sheep that visitors experience at our 152-acre property. During their childhood, the two sisters, along with their three siblings, spent many happy occasions at Hill-Stead. They recall skating on the pond, sledding on the hill, and even enjoying camping trips on the grounds. The Emery sisters are generous supporters of the Hill-Stead Museum, and together, they have found creative ways to support the cultural destination. Held in March 2020, 75 percent of the proceeds from the Emery art auction directly benefited Hill-Stead.

“I want my work to make a difference,” says Kate, a second-career painter. She is also the founder of reSET, a Hartford-based non-profit that seeks to advance the state’s social enterprise sector.

Farmington native, Alden Warner III, purchased the painting for $1250. It was a nod to his childhood friend, Kate, the picturesque village where he spent his formative years and Hill-Stead Museum. Mr. Warner, a third-generation Farmingtonian, says: “It was a chance to buy a lovely painting by my old friend. And, it was a chance to honor Hill-Stead, the last magical landmark that has endured while so much around it has changed.”

3. Last but certainly not least, thank you for being a friend! Hill-Stead was overwhelmed by the generosity of our growing group of supporters. We participated in a full-fledged campaign for Giving Tuesday Now, a new global giving initiative on May 5, 2020. Our weeklong program included authentic content along with beautiful donor quotes, shared via e-blasts, and our various social media platforms to engage our audience. Among the creative posts were a beautiful graphic by educator Rachel Cutler, a chalk drawing by Anna’s daughter, and a “Thank You” photo captured by a drone over the House. We are immensely grateful for all of your contributions as well as our partner Liberty Bank who offered a challenge to match this goal. Every gift sustains us into the future.

I am 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.

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

Best wishes,

Beth Brett