Programs at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum
Recreating the atmosphere of a bygone era, the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum will bring back a highlight of summer at the Mansion, the Victorian Ice Cream Social. This community event will use the Mansion as a backdrop for a wide range of educational and family-friendly activities. Children will learn about and play turn-of-the-century lawn games such as croquet and badminton, while costumed historical interpreters will wander throughout the crowds, interacting with children and adults alike as they bring the Victorian era to life. Children will learn—and try their hand at—how ice cream was made in the latter half of the 19th century, just as the frozen dessert’s popularity exploded across the country with the advent of the hand-cranked ice cream machine. LMMM will engage visitors with some old-fashioned fun while capturing some of today’s dynamic energy with a photography contest, inviting everyone to submit his or her favorite photo of the day.
Although domestic servants made everyday life in grand homes possible; their identities and roles within the household have long been hidden. This lecture will illustrate the diversity of domestic service in New England over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by focusing on three Historic New England properties. Period domestic manuals, ephemera, and other general material will also bring the lives of servants and relationships with their employers to the foreground.
Jennifer Pustz is the museum historian at Historic New England. She holds a Ph.D. in American studies from the University of Iowa and M.A. and B.A. degrees in art history. She is the author of Voices from the Back Stairs: Interpreting Servants’ Lives at Historic House Museums (Northern Illinois University Press, 2010) and a contributing author of Historic New England’s America’s Kitchens publication (2009).
The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum will hold its seventh annual Old Fashioned Flea Market on Sunday, September 21, 2014, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. in Mathews Park. The market will feature antiques, collectibles, jewelry, household items, furniture, clothing, toys and of course, plenty of bargains. A collection of classic and antique cars will also be on display 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. General admission to the event is free.
LMMM partners with the Norwalk Library and Tod Bryant, President of the Norwalk Preservation Trust to launch an exhibit featuring photographs of people who worked in the once thriving manufacturing industry during the early 20th century. Those images will be juxtaposed with Tod Bryant's photographs of people who live and work in the former factory buildings in 2014.
A gala on October 18 will feature NY Times (and #1 internationally) bestselling author Steve Berry, as keynote speaker. Berry and his wife, Elizabeth, are the creators of the History Matters foundation dedicated to historic preservation. LMMM will launch a prize-winning “Young Writers’ Competition” among students from area schools to encourage creative thinking and writing. Berry will judge the finalists and be on hand when this contest culminates with the awards presentation at the gala.
The Ghostly Sightings Tours at the Mansion will focus on the history of the house, when it was a private residence, between 1868 and 1938. Visitors may encounter a ghost who is haunted by those memories and walks through the first and second floors of the Mansion during tour hours, but only at Halloween! On the Haunted Basement Tour, guests will have the rare opportunity to see the dark, Civil War-era underbelly of the building, which will be retrofitted to look like a spine-chilling maze with lighting, playacting, and frightfully fun props.
Tea lovers, history buffs and those looking for a unique experience will delight in attending the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum’s Annual Victorian Tea. This Victorian-era National Historic Landmark celebrates the great afternoon “teatime” tradition, said to have been started by the Duchess of Bedford, one of Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting. Come enjoy a traditional tea surrounded by unparalleled Gilded Age interiors and furniture and the splendor of the most magnificent Mansion in Connecticut.
The family-friendly event features a formal English tea in the Mansion’s Rotunda, including a wide selection of desserts, sandwiches, and the traditional scones and cream, catered by a tea ceremony expert. Music and entertainment will also be featured.
This exhibit will trace the development of the holiday traditions during the Victorian era in America. Visitors will see its evolution from 1850 to the 1900s, from small tabletop tree with edibles and handmade ornaments, to lavishly embellished trees that stood on the floor and almost reached the ceiling. The Museum will also explore the Mansion during the 1930s, and the decorations and gift-giving traditions during Florence Mathews' era.
The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum will create a festive family event and several hours of entertainment, all in the spirit of an old-fashioned community celebration. Holiday displays, Santa Claus, music, holiday refreshments, and the cherished Teddy Bear and Doll Victorian Tea will delight and entertain the entire community.
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