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,

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

Three Things to Know – November 11, 2020

In the spirit of our tech-driven times, I am honored to bring you the sixth installment of “Hill-Stead Museum’s Three Things to Know” this Veteran’s Day. We thank you and invite all those who served to take a complimentary House Tour this weekend.

1 With the holidays ahead, we invite you to celebrate the season at Hill-Stead! Enjoy The Nutcracker Reimagined brought to us by Ballet Theatre Company, including a costume exhibition, dance performances, and special events. Imagine the museum decked out in festive garb with 20 sparkling pieces from the theatre company’s Through the Tulle costume exhibition? Special House tour tickets are available for purchase and going fast! The Carriage Porch will come alive with BTC’s resident professional dancers as they twirl, leap, and pirouette in their very own snow globe. Visitors will be mesmerized as they watch from the outside, transported to New York City’s Fifth Avenue for a stunning window display.

Throughout the run of the presentation, there will be a host of incredible programs including two Snowflake Soirees (Friday, December 11 & Saturday, December 12 at 7 pm). These intimate, socially distanced performances in the Makeshift Theatre will feature twenty-year-old ballet principal Roman Mejia, Resident Guest Dancer from New York City Ballet along with BTC’s Season Dancers. Following the performance, there will be a Q & between the audience, BTC’s artistic team, and dancers. Thematic dessert and libations will be the icing on the cake. Sugarplums, anyone?

Continue reading

Three Things to Know – October 9, 2020

For your Friday! In the spirit of our tech-driven times, I am delighted to bring you the fifth installment of Hill-Stead Museum’s Three Things to Know.

1) As the perfect capstone of our diverse and dynamic 2020 From the Porch performing arts series, Hill-Stead and Opera Connecticut join together on October 25 at 3 pm to honor the life of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her great love of opera! International opera stars Ta’u Pupu’a and Thomas Cannon and local luminary Elizabeth Lyra Ross will sing Puccini, Verdi, and more!  The notorious RBG was a legal, cultural, and feminist icon of the highest order. It is most fitting to honor her at Hill-Stead, founded by Theodate Riddle Pope, our nation’s fourth female architect and a visionary female leader in her own right. Don’t fret if you cannot be there in person. You can tune in from the comfort of your home with a live-stream presentation as it happens. Continue reading

Three Things to Know – September 8, 2020

In the spirit of our tech-driven times, I am delighted to bring you the fourth installment of Hill-Stead Museum’s Three Things to Know.

1) Due to popular demand, Hill-Stead continues its phenomenal From the Porch performing arts programming. Hill-Stead has created its own version of Tanglewood, collaborating with 20 institutions, 80 artists, and bringing together over 1700 patrons to date for music, film, theater, comedy, and more!

Continue reading

Three Things to Know – August 5, 2020

In the spirit of our tech-driven times, I am delighted to bring you the third installment of Hill-Stead Museum’s Three Things to Know.

1) Hill-Stead continues to bring the magic with its phenomenal summer programming! From the Porch, our inaugural multicultural performing arts series appears in more than a dozen articles. Here are some of the recent clips, highlighting the series, including not one but three feature articles in The Hartford Courant. Coverage includes today’s article on our upcoming Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, a full account of our summer series, along with a front-page story from last weekend’s Dance of Da Vinci 2.0 (pictured here).

In the coming weeks, the lineup includes music, film, theater, comedy, and more, so please join us for extraordinary evenings under the moonlit among our creative spirits, crickets, and fireflies! Continue reading

Three Things to Know – June 19, 2020

In the spirit of our tech-driven times, I am delighted to bring you the second installment of “Hill-Stead Museum’s Three Things to Know.”

1.) With the official first day of summer around the corner, Hill-Stead is beyond thrilled to bring you From the Porch, our inaugural multicultural performing arts series. Please join us for this diverse and dynamic showcase featuring music, dance, theater, and more! The series celebrates the “Year of the Woman,” to coincide with the centennial of women’s suffrage with signature events to amplify women’s crucial role in history.

First up, vocal-guitar duo Kristen Renehan and Jim Mastrianni create an elegant, enjoyable musical experience for all ages. This Saturday’s family-friendly prelude performance will include jazz, pop, soul, rock, and folk music with a twist.

Then, join us on Friday, July 26, for an opening night celebration to remember. Tammy Denease, an accomplished storyteller and actor, will perform as Sarah Margu, a captive on the Amistad. Powerful songstress Elizabeth Lyra Ross will also headline the event with a voice to make angels weep. Her distinguished career has included performances with the Metropolitan Opera and an Emmy Award nomination.

Don’t fret if you cannot be there in person. You can tune in from the comfort of your home with a Livestream presentation as it happens. Tickets to the upcoming events are going fast! Purchase yours today and tell your friends!

2.) Where better for children to spend summer than Hill-Stead. Now your children or grandchildren can “Summer on the Hill” with a four-week in-person workshop series offered from July 14- August 14, perfectly pairing painting with nature. Hill-Stead’s own resident artist and educator Rachel Cutler introduces young artists to drawing and painting en Plein air. As we say at Hill-Stead, “If you like Bob Ross, you are going to LOVE Rachel!”

Courses are offered two days per week from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Tuesdays & Thursdays OR Wednesdays & Fridays. Space is limited to 10 students, so please sign up now to reserve your spot. To register, please email Kate Ebner, Director of Education, at

At the same time, Hill-Stead’s education department runs a virtual summer arts series for seniors, exclusively for Duncaster residents. If the pilot proves successful, it will serve as a model for future programs.

Summertime Fun

For creative spirits near and far, Hill-Stead’s What Matters Most Photography Contest allows those from all over the world to submit their photography. Everyone has a story to tell, and this contest provides a forum to capture unexpected outcomes, epiphanies of personal discovery, and moments of pure joy and connection. In doing so, Hill-Stead hopes to build a global community of artists and art enthusiasts. Please enter your work or vote through September 21.

3.) This year, Hill-Stead will host six separate benefit dinners (yes, you heard correctly, in lieu of our annual gala we will hold a bevy of special evenings!). Affectionately coined, Theodate and Tyler: For the Love of Hill-Stead, these exceptional farm-to-table experiences – intended for up to 75 guests each evening – will be created by celebrity chef Tyler Anderson and take place on the gorgeous grounds of Hill-Stead from Thursday, July 23 through Thursday, September 10. These stunning affairs will include special guest appearances, multi-course dinners with wine pairings, and, after-parties in the Sunken Garden. In addition to the live events, there will be a silent auction open to all with new items added throughout the summer. Stay tuned for more details soon!

I am eager to hear from you. Your questions, ideas, and inspirations are welcome. Share a comment on a post relevant to the topic or email

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

Best wishes,
Beth Brett
Director of Communications and Marketing

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

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

Best wishes,

Beth Brett