Director’s Message – November 20, 2020

Dear Friends,

I hope this crisp November day finds you well. Looking ahead to Thanksgiving, the entire team here would like to express our immense gratitude for your continued passion and positivity for our beloved Hill-Stead.

This season, we are thankful that the museum remains open with the most stringent safety measures in place. Better yet, we are delighted to invite you to celebrate the holidays at Hill-Stead! We have joined hands with Ballet Theatre Company (BTC) to reimagine The Nutcracker. Winter festivities will include a memorable Through the Tulle exhibition paired with ballet performances in the Carriage Porch. Our masterpieces, such as Degas’ Dancers in Pink, will join both live dancers and stunning costumes as they together festively enliven the rooms of the historic house.

As you can see from this marvelous map created by Lavell Thompson, President of our Board of Governors, guests will be greeted with the artistic epitome of sugar, spice, and sparkle as Tchaikovsky’s romantic Nutcracker Suite fills the air. Reminiscent of the holiday viewing treasures of New York City’s Fifth Avenue, our patrons will stand outside and look through the glass of the Carriage Porch at a most enchanting window display, as company dancers twirl, leap, and pirouette in their very own life-size snow globe.


 Visitors then tour the first-floor rooms in the house, filled with 16 dazzling costumes. Each individual or family, which we call a “cluster, ” will be given a program, exhibition map, and access to a special audio tour for a self-guided experience. To maximize social distancing, each cluster will enjoy a historic room and its costumes all to themselves, and then when a beautiful bell chimes, visitors will move in a one-way traffic pattern to the next room. Visitors will safely exit through the front door to the veranda. There, they will be delighted by a special holiday guest and be able to shop for artisanal gifts on our front porch!

The blessings, joy, and beauty of the season make me think of our outstanding Board. I would like to thank and warmly welcome our stellar incoming class of eight new members: Myles R. Brown, Carol M. English, Evan S. Goldstein, Erin Ross Moses, Marie C. O’Brien, Kristen Renehan, Dr. Anjanette Ferris Senatus, and George R. Trumbull IV.

They are one part of a close-knit community of caring and compassionate individuals at the heart of Hill-Stead’s many extraordinary accomplishments this year, such as From the Porch, and the free community candy-chute event on Halloween. Please allow me to thank each and every one of you. Your steadfast devotion humbles and inspires me – to be among you in this collective effort to help Hill-Stead thrive is truly my blessing this year.

And speaking of sustaining, we joyfully welcome gifts in many forms, from generous company matches to stocks (five cheers to a raging market!). With your support and the grit that is Hill-Stead’s birthright, we can together stare down this trying year and emerge stronger. A new way to join the charge will arrive on Giving Tuesday, December 1st when a pair of generous donors is offering a matching gift of $7,500.

We wish you and yours a happy and healthy season ahead.

Yours gratefully,




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