Museum Events

In the interest of protecting our patrons, staff, and volunteers in the midst of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, we have been advised to cancel/postpone all in-person programs until further notice. In-person programs will resume as soon as possible. 

The museum hosts recurring programs, fundraisers, as well as special one time events. For information about our upcoming programs check out the Gunn’s event calendar.

Upcoming Events:

Commemorating the 19th Amendment

Original Date: Thursday, August 6, 2020 from 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM. The program has been postponed due to the storm – stay tuned!
This year marks 100 years since the 19th Amendment passed, granting women the right to vote. Join the Gunn Memorial Library and Gunn Historical Museum as we welcome Historian Mark Albertson to discuss this landmark event. When the 15th Amendment passed in 1870, granting black men the right to vote, Suffragettes like Susan B. Anthony were inspired to fight for their rights. The 19th Amendment was first introduced to Congress in 1878 and it took years of organizing, petitioning, and strategizing before the nation ratified the amendment. Women marched, wrote their legislators, lobbied and lectured all across the nation for several years before being taken seriously. Albertson will discuss the several factors that went into the struggle to get the 19th Amendment ratified and the activists who made it happen.
CONTACT:  Jessica  860-868-7586

Past Events:

The Story of a River, a two part lecture by Edwin Matthews

Lecture no. 1: “The Story of a River: Contrasting History of the Shepaug”
Date: July 20, 2020 at 6:30pm

The Shepaug River has been flowing since the ice left Connecticut perhaps 30,000 years ago.  Its storied history incudes the Native Americans who occupied the valley for many thousands of years, followed by opportunistic European colonists, then by all manner of industry and finally a steam railroad along its banks.  At the turn of the last Century, its natural beauty drew city folks to enjoy and later to preserve the river landscape.  In 1955 a dramatic flood destroyed the Washington Depot river front, which with remarkable commitment to community was restored.

Click here to watch a recording of Lecture no. 1

Lecture no. 2: “The Story of a River: Rallies to Save the Shepaug” 
Date: August 3, 2020 at 6:30pm

In our time, the Shepaug has been threatened by diversions of its water to Waterbury: in summer months, the river went dry.  In the 1920’s valley citizens had been caught off-guard when the headwaters were sold to the Waterbury Water Company.  In 1921 a contract was signed that was hoped would protect the river but did not. In the 1990’s river advocates mobilized to save their river.  Their battle led to complex litigation and in 2005 to a settlement agreement with Waterbury which has restored river flows for future generations.

Click here to watch a recording of Lecture no. 2

About Edwin Matthews

For twenty years Edwin Matthews has been active in the defense of the Shepaug River. As President of the Shepaug River Association, he was responsible for litigation that resulted in an agreement to limit diversions of water from the river by Waterbury. Edwin Matthews’ affection for the natural world began growing up in the woods of Northern Idaho. He went on to study History and Science at Harvard and to Law School at Yale. For many years he practiced law in New York, Paris and San Francisco. He was a founder of Friends of the Earth International., a worldwide environmental organization now in seventy-five countries.  For many years he has served as a trustee of the Steep Rock Association and Earthjustice, a not-for-profit law firm for the environment.

Mr. Matthews lives on a farm in Washington, Connecticut where, without much success, he is trying to teach his Labrador to value squirrels in the ecosystem. He has published a book of essays on wildness around us entitled “Litchfield Country Journal” that is available at the Hickory Stick in Washington, Depot.

Virtual History Programs

The Museum hosted several virtual Readings from the Archives on Zoom, whose recordings can be found below. Museum staff read a research paper about a Washington topic from the Museum’s archive and shared related photos, followed by a brief discussion with the audience.

Apr 20, 2020 – “A History of Calhoun Street” by Mrs. Helen Fenn Whitehead in 1938.
Zoom recording: click here     

Moses Titus House, 40 Calhoun Street. From the Collection of the Gunn Historical Museum.

Moses Titus House, 40 Calhoun Street. From the collection at Gunn Historical Museum.

May 4, 2020 – “The Sister Susie Society” by Dorothy Abbot Loomis in 1930.
Zoom recording: click here

Sister Susies on Washington Green – The Allied Market Fundraiser. From the collection at Gunn Historical Museum.

May 18, 2020 – “Reminiscences of Dr. Remus Fowler, his Family, and House” by Edith Heath Rossiter in 1912.
Zoom recording: click here

Photo of Dr. Remus Fowler. From the collection at Gunn Historical Museum.

June 1, 2020 – “The Story of the Wesley House” by Fanny Palmer in 1911.
Zoom recording: click here

Photo of the Wesley House. From the collection at Gunn Historical Museum.

June 15, 2020 – “A Sketch of the Judea Female Seminary” by Amy Kenyon in 1911.
Zoom recording: click here

Students of the Judea Female Seminary. From the collection of the Gunn Historical Museum.