Danbury Museum & Historical Society
- Brigid Guertin - Executive Director
- Levi Newsmen - Director of Museum Operations
- Robert Young - President, Board of Trustees
The Danbury Museum and Historical Society is YOUR hometown museum. Preserving, protecting, and educating Danbury's friends, neighbors, and visitors about the heritage and history of our community is our main focus! Situated in downtown Danbury, at the southern end of Main Street, the main museum campus is composed of five buildings. Huntington Hall is a modern exhibit building containing changing exhibit space, the museum offices, a research library, and a gift shop. Huntington Hall is also a place for local groups to hold meetings and is used by the museum to host a diverse series of lectures and programs that are free and open to the public.
The Danbury Museum provides guided tours of the historic buildings in its collection and safeguards the documents that reflect our city's history. We preserve several historic buildings including, the John and Mary Rider House (c. 1785), the John Dodd Hat Shop (c. 1790), the Marian Anderson Studio, the King Street Schoolhouse, the Little Red Schoolhouse, and the Charles Ives Birthplace. The collections stored in these historic buildings encompass everything from historic Danbury-made hats, to colonial kitchen equipment from the 18th century to the christening costume of Charles Ives, and gowns worn by Marian Anderson onstage during her career. The Danbury Museum has an outstanding collection of historic textiles and one of the oldest quilts in Connecticut. The archival collection is an amazing example of diverse ephemera tracing the life and lifestyles of Danburians past and present. In addition, historic newspapers, city directories, letters, diaries, and a wide-ranging photo collection provide a unique glimpse of our local, regional, and national history. The museum gardens are open dawn to dusk and encompass both historic medicinal gardens as well as colorful formal spaces, with many areas to sit and enjoy this oasis of nature downtown!
We enjoy successful working relationships with multiple city departments, including the Danbury Public Library, Danbury Parks and Rec, and Danbury Public Schools. We also partner with numerous businesses, private organizations, and not-for-profits in the greater-Danbury area.
Since 1941 the museum has preserved Danbury's heritage and historic properties as we continue our mission to increase history-based tourism, museum programming, and the expansion of the local history curriculum in our public schools.
The recent completion of interior renovations to Huntington Hall (funded through donations), provided the museum with revamped display cases that are used for temporary and revolving exhibits. Last year the Danbury Museum hosted a very successful, six-month exhibit entitled "The Great War: Danbury Answers the Call" that visually and audibly explored Danbury during this important event. This year visitors are invited to enjoy an exhibition of "Prohibition: Hatters and Hooch in 'Dry' Danbury" with related activities through November 2018. The Danbury Museum is thrilled to report an increase in visitors, more than 30,000 expected to visit next year alone!
The museum continues to concentrate on highlighting Danbury's local history and providing a rich diversity of programs focused on local historians, authors, artists, and local musicians who perform in the Marian Anderson Studio. The museum launched a renewed initiative to increase school programming for Danbury public school students inclusive of tours, on-site re-enactors, and in-school programs which reached over 3,000 students (elementary through college-age) in the last year alone. Research services are readily available for addressing local history and genealogy-related queries. In the past year, we are thrilled to have accommodated students, family historians, authors, and filmmakers from all over the globe. The extensive microfilm collection is accessible Tuesday through Saturday 10 am-4 pm. The Danbury Museum is in the process of integrating the museum catalog with the Danbury Library online catalog, in an effort to make searching and researching as easy as possible for library and museum archive patrons.
The Danbury Museum and Historical Society has also launched a new, expanded website, providing the first stop for researchers into Danbury history and providing for the easy dissemination of walking tours, biographies, and short essays about critical past events in local history. For more information on new programs, lectures, exhibits, tours, fundraisers, and events you can like the Danbury Museum on Facebook, follow the Danbury Museum on Instagram and Twitter, or sign up on the website for a free copy of the museum's monthly e-newsletter!