CT Museum Recruits Sheep to Lift Spirits During Pandemic
May 12, 2020
Hill-Stead Museum in Connecticut is offering a rather unusual service during the coronavirus pandemic to help lift spirits: virtual sheep experiences.
Hill-Stead Museum in Connecticut is offering a rather unusual service during the coronavirus pandemic to help lift spirits: virtual sheep experiences.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com.
We will strive to respond to questions as soon as possible, generally within 24 hours.
Director of Communications and Marketing
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 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.
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
Winner Gabriella R. | A Hint of Spring
Runner-up David C. | Croquet Sunset
Second Runner-up Kate E. | Rainbow
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will strive to respond to questions as soon as possible, generally within 24 hours.
“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.
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.
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.
Video courtesy of Lev Verbitsky
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.”
“We’re Pulling for You” grant from SBM Charitable Foundation offers field trips and outreach for East Hartford, Manchester, and Vernon/Rockville students
Hill-Stead Museum is pleased to announce that SBM Charitable Foundation, Inc. had awarded Hill-Stead a “We’re Pulling for You” grant in the amount of $33,125 in support of its “Art, Poetry and History at Hill-Stead Museum” program offered to East Hartford, Manchester, and Vernon/Rockville students. This program, in partnership with the SBM Charitable Foundation, has provided valuable Fine Arts, Language Arts, and World Languages themed educational programs for thousands of underserved students since 2006.
“We are delighted to be able to continue this important and valuable program,” said Dr. Anna Swinbourne, Interim Executive Director & CEO of Hill-Stead Museum. “Working together as partners, the schools’ educators and Hill-Stead Museum staff provide these students with an incomparable experience beyond the classroom, where they can learn about art and the humanities first-hand. Our unique setting is authentic and historically rich, and filled with the inspiring real-life stories of its founders and their ideals, as well as a world-class collection of decorative arts and French Impressionist masterpieces. The generous support of SBM Charitable Foundation makes this learning possible, and for that we are deeply grateful.”
“Hill-Stead Museum’s ‘Art, Poetry and History’ program is tied to the school curriculum and benefits so many school children in our area communities,” said Doreen Downham, Executive Director of SBM Charitable Foundation. “The SBMCF is delighted to continue our funding support of the Museum to provide such a wonderfully successful education enrichment program for East of the River students.”
About the SBM Charitable Foundation
The SBM Charitable Foundation, Inc., perpetuating the vision of the former Savings Bank of Manchester, is committed to bettering the lives of those who live and work predominantly East of the River in Hartford, Tolland, and Windham Counties. Priorities established for the Foundation’s giving are Health, Human Services, Education, Housing, and the Arts.