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“This is My Favorite Historic Home”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Hill-Stead Museum

Hill-Stead Museum
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: This museum houses a large collection of French Impressionist paintings.
Hartford, Connecticut
Level Contributor
24 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“This is My Favorite Historic Home”
Reviewed October 19, 2013

I love the Hill-Stead House. From the moment you enter the estate and travel down the beautifully maintained drive you feel as though you have travelled back in time. The house and grounds are gorgeous. There is a small gift shop. Inside the barn there is an introductory film explaining who Theodate Pope was. Not only did she design this house as well as tony Miss Porter's School but she was the first woman architect in the United States. Remember the scene in Titanic where the family travels to Europe to purchase Art? It will come alive for you as you tour this house and see the original Manets ,Monets, Renoirs, Casssats, Most of the furniture is original or reproduced to historical specification. The docents are all well versed and educated. This is not a house where you cluster around a gated entrance to each room. You walk through the house in and out of each room and upstairs into the bedrooms. Each time I visit I feel as if I could live here and wish I could.

Visited May 2013
Thank debtct
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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164 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
145 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Wonderfully preserved home”
Reviewed October 12, 2013

This is an absolute gem of a place. The home is very large and the grounds of the property are well kept. What was interesting was that most of the furniture and artefacts are original. Walking around the house you could picture the owners going about their daily things. Talking of pictures, the many paintings in the house are fantastic. The portraits of the owners and photographs of them bring the place even more to life. The guide was so knowledgeable and made the tour very interesting. We took a walk around the grounds and the pretty garden after the tour and we could see why Theodate and her family liked it so much. This museum is well worth a visit

Visited October 2013
1 Thank pdsfinance
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Farmington, Connecticut
Level Contributor
19 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“One of America's hidden treasures”
Reviewed September 17, 2013

Monet, Manet, degas, whistler, cassat, durer...they're all here and can never be loaned out. There are also rare Chinese porcelain and other treasures in an eclectic collection. The home itself is an architectural masterpiece: every window gives you a breathtaking view of the countryside and the serene sunken garden. We take visitors from France, Russia and the UK here and all say it's one of the high points of their trip to the US. The tour is docent guided and gives you a wonderful window into 19th century life among the rich and famous.

Visited October 2012
Thank Alan_Rita24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, Connecticut
Level Contributor
20 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“An absolute gem!”
Reviewed September 10, 2013

The Hill-Stead Museum is an extraordinary place on many levels. First of all the house itself is an architectural landmark by one of America's first female architects, Theodate Pope Riddle (who also designed Avon Old farms School in Avon). The house is beautifully designed with a then very modern open floor plan. It's a true country house, taking a historical cue from George Washington's Mount Vernon, and integrates wonderfully with the surrounding acreage. There is a superb restored sunken garden designed by legendary landscape architect Beatrix Farrand and the plantings are simply beautiful. The whole property is a great place to enjoy a leisurely walk. The Hill-Stead's claim to fame for most visitors is its stunning collection of French Impressionist masterpieces -- all on their original places on the walls of the house. As a matter of fact, some parts of the house were deliberately designed to show off these art works. You'll see, for example, two (yes, 2!) of Monet's extraordinary "Haystack" paintings and they are hung with ample afternoon light to bring out their glowing colors. Similarly, the fireplace mantle in the dining room is designed to feature a long and lovely Degas pastel of jockeys training at Longchamp racecourse outside of Paris. The light sage green featured by Degas is further enhanced by two flanking antique celadon green Chinese vases on either side of the art work. If you want more art, there are several marvelous Whistlers, Manets, and Mary Cassatts to discover on the house tour. Often overlooked is the print collection on the wall leading upstairs: Durer, Whistler, Haden, and many other superb print artists are featured there. At one time the upper floor featured prints by the great Japanese masters Hokusai, Hiroshige, Kunisada, but these are now in storage due to their fragility. All in all, this is real gem of a place and you can enjoy the Hill-Stead on many levels. My wife and I have been there many times over the years, either for us to walk our dogs on the trails near the house or for me to bring my architecture students along for the house tour. If you love art and nature you won't be disappointed I'm sure. Enjoy!

Visited September 2013
Thank MichaelKohlhaas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sturbridge, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
115 reviews
58 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Art museum hiding in historic mansion”
Reviewed September 5, 2013

Large historic mansion with impressionists paintings. Amazing to see out in the open like his just as wealth folk would have enjoyed them.

Visited August 2013
Thank DrPaulS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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