HENRY WHITFIELD STATE
MUSEUM CELEBRATES CENTENNIAL
Open to the Public, Free of Charge
GUILFORD, Conn., September 21, 2004 - One
hundred years ago, on September 21, 1904, the formal opening of the new
"State Historical Museum" at the historic Henry
Whitfield House in Guilford, Conn., was celebrated with much pomp and
circumstance. Not to be outdone, the Connecticut Commission on Culture and
Tourism and the Friends of the Henry Whitfield Museum are throwing a party on
Sunday, September 26, 2004 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to celebrate 100 years of
visitors, education, preservation, exhibits and programs. The event is open to
the public, free of charge.
The highlight of the day will occur at 2 p.m.
with a commemoration ceremony based on the original 1904 dedication. Federal,
state and local officials will speak and a historical address will be delivered
by Michael A. McBride, curator of the museum, and Joel Helander, Guilford town
historian. The ceremony will culminate with the unveiling of a seven-foot tall
bronze statue honoring Henry Whitfield, one of the founders of Guilford in 1639,
the first minister of the community and the first owner of the historic
Whitfield House. The statue, created by sculptor Robert Shure of Woburn, Mass.,
was donated to the museum by Whitfield descendant John B. Threlfall of Madison,
Wisc. Following the ceremony, guests can enjoy nostalgic music in a recreation
of one of Guilford's historic 19th century town bands.
Throughout the day, visitors can tour the Henry
Whitfield House, Connecticut's oldest house. Museum collection items that were
displayed in 1904 will be featured. The special exhibit "Bicentennial
Beacon: Faulkner's Island Lighthouse 1802 - 2002," will be open for tours
in the museum visitor center. Children and the young-at-heart can participate in
scavenger hunts inside the Henry Whitfield House or enjoy outdoor activities
with 19th and 20th century toys and games, including jump ropes, ring tosses,
stilts, hoops and catch.
The celebration will also feature a display of
antique automobiles to illustrate how visitors have traveled to the museum over
the past 100 years. In addition, the first automobile registered in Guilford, a
1902 Oldsmobile owned by Alfred Benjamin of Milford, Conn., will be on display.
The Henry Whitfield State Museum, a National
Historic Landmark, is Connecticut's oldest house and New England's oldest stone
house (built in 1639). A state museum since 1899, the building was restored by
notable architects Norman Isham in 1903 and by J. Frederick Kelly in the 1930s.
It is a unique example of English post-medieval domestic architecture and
Colonial Revival-influenced restoration work. Visitors can experience 17th -
19th century furnishing and artifacts; exhibits on state, local and social
history; landscaped grounds; a visitor center; and museum gift shop.
The museum is open from April 1 - December 14,
2004, Wednesdays - Sundays, 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Admission is $4 for adults; $3
for seniors (over age 59) and college students; $2.50 for children (ages six -
17); and free for children under age six. The museum is open year-round for
school groups and groups of 10 or more people. Advance reservations must be made
and discount rates are available. The museum is located at 248 Old Whitfield
Street, south of the historic green in Guilford, Conn. Take exit 58 off of
Interstate 95 or Route 1 to Route 77 South. For further information, call
203-453-2457, fax 203-453-7544, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Friends of the Henry Whitfield Museum is a
newly-formed private, non-profit group comprised of members from the community,
the state, and the entire country. Its mandate is to support the operations,
programs and mission of the Henry Whitfield State Museum.
In 2003, the Connecticut General Assembly
created the Commission on Culture and Tourism to identify, preserve, strengthen
and promote Connecticut's cultural and tourism industries in order to enhance
the quality of life for its citizens, create a destination for travelers and
contribute to the reputation and economic vitality of the state.
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Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism
Henry Whitfield State Museum, Guilford
Director of Public Relations
McLaughlin, DelVecchio & Casey