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History Is…

The inaugural exhibition at the Greenwich Historical Society’s newly reimagined campus opened to the public during the Opening Day Party on October 6. Drawing on objects and images from the Historical Society’s collections, History Is… encourages visitors to reflect on the role history plays at different stages in their lives and explores the ways individuals look at, define and interpret history. The exhibit embodies the Historical Society’s mission to strengthen the community’s connection to our past, to each other and to our future.

According to Curator of Museum Collections Karen Frederick: “History is multi-faceted, and at different times in people’s lives, can take on personal, local or global dimensions. Viewing history as a journey of continuity and change offers an opportunity for visitors to connect with our rich collections, which are intimately entwined with our nation’s narrative, and experience them in new and engaging ways.”

Game of Round the World, 1890. A Novel and Fascinating Game with Plenty of Excitement by Land and Sea with Nellie Bly, the World’s Globe Circler Created by J.A. Grozier. Published by McLoughlin Bros., Inc. Collection Greenwich Historical Society. Paul Mutino photographer.

Following a multi-year campus renovation and expansion, the exhibition will be presented in the new Gallery for Special Exhibitions, a gift of the Frank Family Foundation. The Historical Society worked closely with design firm Whirlwind Creative to develop History Is…, new interpretive signs around the site and a new visual identity.

Pocket Watch
Pocket Watch belonging to David Bush Made by Charles E. Disbrow, Gold, Gift of Mr. W. Millerd Morgan, Mr. H. Hobart Holly, Jr. and Miss Elizabeth C. Holly in memory of Charlotte Morgan Holly (1873–1965) wife of Henry Hobart Holly and great-great-granddaughter of David Bush (1733–1797), 1966
Pair of Ticket Stubs to Game 1 of the World Series, 1939, Collection Greenwich Historical Society, William E. Finch, Jr. Archives, Family History Papers Collection, Gift of Mr. Lawrence Pains

History Is… explores seven ways we connect to history. This exhibition illustrates how ubiquitous and dynamic history is through artifacts, images and documents. See how we record time and events, how we move about, the structures we save and the things we collect give meaning to our lives and to our communities.

This exhibit chronicles how we have tracked time over the centuries. Objects from the collection include a windowsill sundial, calendars, tall case clock, pocket watch, train schedule, diary and digital wristwatch.

Headlines reveal the diversity of events in history and mark the passing of time. A timeline of headlines allows visitors to see the breaking news in the year of their birth. Culled from local newspapers, the selected headlines reflect events that have both national and local impact.

Explore the stories of people on the move over time: by foot, water, road and rail. Modes of transportation and mobility have changed over time, which affect how we commute to work, where we live and how new immigrants arrived. This exhibit offers a glimpse into how the town of Greenwich changed over time as modes of mobility evolved.

Preservation of landmarks insures that the past will not be forgotten. As our cities and towns grow and change, progress often erases the visible evidence of past communities. A view of historic Greenwich through our post card collection tells the stories of select landmarks, buildings and streetscapes that have survived or adapted to change. 

The small things we collect serve as a record of personal and public milestones in our lives. These objects, when shared, become collective memories and often reveal what many of us have in common.

An eclectic display of artifacts illustrates how innovations, practices and lifeways have changed from one generation to the next, while many of our needs remain the same.

History isn’t comprised just of famous individuals or events. It can also be personal and reflect what is meaningful to you and your family. This exhibit invited Greenwich residents to lend a small artifact, document and/or image that illustrates a memorable experience in their lives. 

Greenwich Historical Society invites visitors to think about an event or person in their lives that is memorable and to leave behind a short recollection.

Also in the new museum, see paintings from the artists of the Cos Cob art colony, a short orientation film, a timeline, and displays of recent acquisitions and seldom-seen objects from the collections of the Greenwich Historical Society in the Permanent Gallery.