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…

It begins next month, honoring Theodate’s passion for sustainable farming, when we host our inaugural Art of Shearing  on March 27. With our partners of Clatter Ridge Farm, we’ve created a daylong event that starts with sheep shearing in our barn. We’ll then parade this golden fleece up to the museum, where, throughout our renovated spaces, a series of artisans will demonstrate the methods of transforming raw material into wearable garments – carding, dyeing, spinning, weaving, we’ll show every step! With vendors on hand to sell fiber goods and some tasty snacks, it promises to be a fun, educational way to welcome spring.

In April, we’ll host Star of the Bar. On Friday night, April 29 a group of talented local bartenders will be challenged to create a signature cocktail worthy of becoming Hill-Stead’s drink of the year! Ticket holders will not only be able to test all the drinks, enjoy the food and dancing on offer, but they will, by secret ballot, vote for the best cocktail and pick our winner.

The winner will serve their first-prize drink at our annual gala on May 20th. For this night, we’re going all out! With a Roaring Twenties theme and period dress encouraged, we’ll take to the front lawn to shake out the dreary times of late and celebrate our survival, thriving present and wowza! future. With an opening cocktail at Effie’s Speakeasy, followed by great food, dancing, stars shining bright, and glasses raised – as far as the eye can see – to this small, mighty museum, it’ll be a night of legends, and not to be missed.

All this leads to one of the most important elements in our celebration of 75, which we’ve been preparing for years: rotating exhibitions in our new art gallery! We are thrilled to announce the first in what will become an ongoing series here at Hill-Stead entitled Strong Women. The programming and artwork on view – paintings and automatic drawings by the Brooklyn-based artist collective, Hilma’s Ghost (pictured below) – will touch upon a long-overlooked aspect of Theodate’s life, her deep interest in the spiritual world. This timely show is an ideal way to link the past with the present, exploring the Hill-Stead of historic times with our world now. Opening in early summer

With best wishes and filled with excitement for what’s ahead


Dr. Anna Swinbourne
Executive Director & CEO


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