Decorative Arts Study Group

Do you want to know more about the decorative arts at Hill-Stead?

Hill-Stead’s Decorative Arts Study Group is a members-based group that was formed to focus on the museum’s many extraordinary examples of what are often called the “minor arts” – furniture, textiles, ivory, metalwork and the host of other items that today might fall under the description “interior decoration.”  The Decorative Arts Study Group brings noted speakers to the museum for a focused look at Hill-Stead’s decorative arts treasures.

  • Curious about the beautiful frames around the Monets?
  • Interested in the museum’s clocks?
  • Do you want to know more about the celadon porcelain in the dining room?
  • The list goes on, and the programs do, too!

View a list of upcoming Decorative Arts Study Group Events>

Scholars and experts, we welcome inquiries about presentations related to our collections.  For more information, please contact Melanie Bourbeau,

Join the Decorative Arts Study Group

We are currently not adding new members. The DASG will be discontinued in 2020.  Please stay tuned for details on a revamped program.

Past Decorative Arts Study Group Programs

All About Silver
In 2017, the Decorative Arts Study Group (DASG) presented Exotic Brews and Splendid Silver, a lecture by Jennifer Pittman from Rago Arts & Auction Center. Ms. Pitman traced the history of silver tea and coffee wares from their introduction through the 20th century and highlighted the works of the most preeminent English and American silversmiths. She also introduced an understanding of silver hallmarks. Ms. Pitman, a 20-year auction professional and previous Head of Christie’s Silver Department, conducted on-site appraisals for those in attendance.


An Evening at The O’Rourkery with Rabbit Goody
Textile historian Rabbit Goody of Thistle Hill Weavers joined the DASG at Theodate Pope Riddle’s first home in Farmington, which she called The O’Rourkery. After a tour of the home, Ms. Goody shared a program about Colonial and Colonial Revival fabrics

Life and Entertaining in Theodate’s World, April 29, 2016
Theodate Pope Riddle mastered the art of spectacular entertaining for her many illustrious guests at Hill-Stead. Kevin McNamara of KPM, Arts & Antiques, gave a taste of this era in the museum’s dining room.

The Art and Science of Painted Wood-Grain Finishes, October 20, 2015
An illustrated talk by Connecticut Artisan Tim Eaton, followed by a hands-on demonstration of various techniques, and an up-close look at the wood-grain painting Hill-Stead’s period rooms.

DASG lecture"Whistler's The Peacock Room" speaker, Lee Glazer, Associate Curator at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery, from March 26, 2015. Joint program with Wadsworth Atheneum's Decorative Arts Council. A lecture by Lee Glazer, Associate Curator at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery.
A joint program with Wadsworth Atheneum’s Decorative Arts Council.