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- I had low expectations, but I underestimated this museum. Excellent depth of collections, enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers, hands-on interaction with some items, and a friendly atmosphere.
First, understand this museum is run by enthusiastic volunteers. They are engaged and know a ton about the collection because they aren’t just docents - they are actively maintaining and repairing and restoring the items they are telling you about! It took us a few minutes to find someone to take our money - but then we got a personal tour that helped us learn more than we’d expected! Clearly these folks love the subject and it shows!
Next, it’s a privately funded collection which means it’s a bit of a hodge podge of stuff. There’s a LOT to sort through, some common and some very rare. Go with an open, curious mind.
We ended up spending almost three hours with no complaints of boredom from either teen!Written June 19, 2021This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- We visited the galleries at the Windsor Historical Society Museum in Windsor, Connecticut on Friday, March 26th, 2021. Although the tour of the Strong-Howard and the Chaffee Houses was not available to take at this time, we did enjoy browsing the 3 galleries that are open that provide a very comprehensive history of Windsor on a self-guided tour. There is definitely a lot of interesting background information as well as historical artifacts to see, which is all quite educational. Both the exhibits and associated detailed write-ups are nicely done. Touring the galleries is a nice walk back through time and we are glad that we had the opportunity to do it and we hope that you do as well.
Admission to browse the galleries was free at the time of our visit, which was an added bonus. The staff was friendly and the museum was clean with plenty of room to social distance. Also, we had the flexibility of not being required to have timed tickets, which makes for a more relaxing experience than with needing to have them. We thank the museum for being open their normal hours during the pandemic and for not having reduced hours as many other museums have had. In addition, based on my review of the ‘Connecticut 169 Club’ Book, this museum is open for more hours than many of the other historical societies in the state, which is great. This museum is a very nice resource to have in Windsor.
We were at the museum for about an hour during our visit this time, based on the amount of time available to us, but we could have spent over 2 hours there to be able to absorb all the information that was available, which is really quite a lot. Also the museum has a nice gift shop and there is plenty of free parking in front of the museum, which is very convenient.
We started our self-guided tour of the museum in the gallery that addressed the Colonial Period, 1633 – 1800. Such topics as Windsor’s English Founders; the Plymouth Traders; the Dorchester Group; Windsor’s Land and Rivers; Windsor’s Native People; the Palisado Green and Windsor’s Palisade; Laying out the Town; Building Windsor (1635 – 1700); Windsor Woodworkers; the Pequot War (1634 – 1638); Regional Connections; Windsor Connections in the World (1770 – 1810); Slavery in Windsor; Windsor in the Revolution (1775 – 1783); Oliver and Abigail Ellsworth, whose backgrounds were both quite impressive; and much, much more are addressed and nicely illustrated, all having historical significance. One of the exhibits entitled ‘Windsor’s Reach’, which was of particular interest to us, was the map and timeline for all the towns that once were part of Windsor in the 1630s. The area was really quite large, with a breakaway of towns happening between 1670 and 1854. Also the ‘Map: State Map of Connecticut Showing Indian Trails, Villages, and Sachemdoms’ was interesting. In addition, the picture where the Farmington River meets the Connecticut River, depicting Windsor as a Two-River Town. is quite nice to see and the information about the Terraces and Meadows is quite interesting.
We then went to the gallery that addressed ‘Farms to Suburbs; Windsor After 1800’. Such topics as Farm Life in Windsor; Windsor’s Transportation and Innovations; the Tobacco Valley and Windsor’s Tobacco Culture (Both Broadleaf and Shade Tobacco grown from Sumatran tobacco seeds); Windsor’s Suburban Dream (1900 – 2000); and Windsor Today are nicely illustrated. Other more specific topics include: a View of Windsor Locks (1877), including a nice model of the canal locks, and the Enfield Falls Canal; the Trolley Town; Railroads Come to Windsor; Brick Making; The Loomis Institute; the Scandal: the Amy Archer–Gillian Murder Trial; Migrants, Immigrants and Diversity; Windsor and World War II; Bradley International Airport; Breaking Down Prejudices: William Best; Signs of Good Life; Interstate Highways; Corporate Development; the Cultural Center, the Government; Living in Windsor and much more. Agriculture in Windsor and aspects of modern Windsor are all nicely addressed in this gallery, with several topics having very historical significance.
The back gallery addressed a wide variety of different topics including ‘Industrial Growth – Modern Commerce Takes Shape’ and ‘A changing World’, including what life was like in Windsor in 1921, the year of the museum’s founding; how things changed and how they stayed the same. Additional topics include Windsor’s Commerce in 1921; Women’s Suffrage; Prohibition in Windsor; the Impact of Immigration; Mixed Neighborhoods and Diversification; ‘Americanization Comes to Windsor’ and much, much, more. This gallery is a great tribute to the museum’s centennial celebration!!
Although the tour of the Strong-Howard and Chaffee Houses was not available at this time, the following is what I documented about our experience when touring them in June of 2018. The tour of both houses was enjoyable, educational and nicely done. Both houses were well restored, nicely preserved and laid out with period furnishings that looked authentic but were largely recreations. The tour of the Strong-Howard House focused on the year 1810, when the Howard Family was living in the house. The tour provided great information on the lives of the family members, their status, the house and the contents of each room and how each room was used. Our tour guide provided interesting details regarding her experience cooking part of a meal in the house, which was great background information. We also were provided with an interesting tour of the Chaffee House as well as with a detailed guide book on the Strong-Howard House, which was quite helpful. We hope to be able to visit both houses again in the future when they re-open again..
We recommend a visit to this museum for a comprehensive historical perspective of Windsor. It was a nice walk back through time. We hope that you have an opportunity to visit it as well.Written March 29, 2021This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- So glad the DAR has maintained this historic home for others to appreciate! We saw it decorated for Christmas as it would have been in 1860. We learned so much about what Oliver Ellsworth contributed to the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and was the third Supreme Court Justice among other things.Written December 9, 2018This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- The artwork: always rotating in new exhibits made by very talented artists. A variety of events are held here - love it! When in Windsor, go if you can, you won't regret it.Written October 17, 2017
- Found this wonderful spot right before they were closing. Did manage to get in an alcohol painitng ( the medium, not the drink) and silk scarf dying class. Since then had a home party with friends to make dyed silk scarfs. Lots of fun and Lisel is helpful and charming. Contact her and see what she has available for private or home classes.Written February 18, 2015
- This facility, located on the Windsor (CT) green, is no longer a museum. A high level professional placement agency now inhabits this building.Written April 11, 2016