Museum Events

All in-person programs have been postponed until further notice and will resume as soon as possible. 

Below you will find details about the Gunn Museum’s special one-time events. For information about Readings from the Archives and Washington History Club, visit our recurring programs page. For information about upcoming programs at both the Gunn Museum and Gunn Library, check out the Gunn’s event calendar.

For assistance with Zoom, we recommend you watch these tutorials here. The Gunn Memorial Library also has a page that lists helpful links. If you have any further questions about our virtual programs, please contact us at or 860-868-7756. Library staff is also available in person and over the phone at 860-868-7586 for help.

Upcoming Events: 

The Early Days of the Washington Art Association

Date: Monday, February 22, 2021 at 6:30pm

Founders of the Washington Art Association in 1952, from the collection of the Washington Art Association.

Please join us on Zoom for the second presentation of the Gunn Historical Museum’s Artist Lecture Series, co-sponsored by the Washington Art Association. Former Curator of the Gunn Museum Sarah Griswold will present, “A Mid-Century Artist’s Haven and the Early Days of the Washington Art Association.” Registration is required to receive the Zoom link for this virtual program. Click here to register.

Along with its physical beauty, historic homes, well-tended public buildings, rolling, verdant hills, and generations of devoted residents, Washington is known for its lively and long-standing commitment to the arts. The Washington Art Association (WAA), founded in 1952 by Margaret Train Samsanoff and a small group of local artists and patrons, gave importance to and has fostered this legacy for the past 68 years. The lecture will take a close look at these individuals including the talented artists William Talbot, Esther Peck, Alice Snow, and Feodor Rimsky. They were all committed to enriching the Washington community through creating, exhibiting, and learning about art. The presentation will also explore the social, political, cultural, and historical environment that gave rise to the WAA’s formation. It will look at early exhibitions and social events that set the tone for decades to follow. The lecture will then culminate with a brief overview of where the WAA is today and a reflection of its ongoing legacy.

About Sarah Griswold

Sarah Griswold

Sarah Griswold is an Independent Consultant to cultural and nonprofit organizations, including the Connecticut League of History Organizations/Connecticut Humanities, the Institute for American Indian Studies, Lebanon Historical Society, the Litchfield Historical Society, and the Mattatuck Museum. Previously, she served as Curator of the Gunn Historical Museum and as Executive Director for the Seabury Society for the Preservation of the Glebe House in Woodbury, CT. She was also a Partner/Consultant at the Ericson Business Group, LLC in Woodbury, CT.

Rossiter’s Riverside Retreat: The Early Days of the Steep Rock Association

Date: Monday, March 15, 2021 at 6:30pm

Please join us on Zoom for the illustrated presentation “Rossiter’s Riverside Retreat” with author and historian Carol Santoleri. This program is being co-sponsored by the Gunn Historical Museum and the Steep Rock Association. Registration is required to receive the Zoom link for this virtual program. Click here to register.

In the late 1880s, Ehrick Rossiter (1854-1941) recognized the inherent beauty of Washington, Connecticut’s Shepaug River Valley and began buying up riverside land, including a renowned cliff known as Steep Rock. He wound carriage roads through the valley’s fields and forests to link scenic overlooks, river crossings, and picnic spots, creating a rustic retreat called Steep Rock Park. A decade later, a young man named Joseph West (1876-1952) began photographing the park. Over the next 25 years, he took over two hundred pictures of the river, trails, and overlooks, creating glass plate negatives that are now in the collection of the Gunn Historical Museum. Historian Carol Santoleri spent several years in an effort not only to identify the landscape in West’s photographs, but also to track down the exact spots where he set his tripod. Focusing on “then and now” comparisons that span over one hundred years, her presentation brings the history of one of the most picturesque and conservation-worthy landscapes of Litchfield County to life.

About Carol Santoleri

Carol Santoleri, landscape historian, photographer, and author of The History of Steep Rock Association: The Jewel in the Crown (2020), brings both an artistic eye and a research-based perspective to her work. She has a fine arts degree in landscape architecture from Rhode Island School of Design, a master’s degree in early modern landscape history from Columbia University, and six years of experience as a curatorial research assistant at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

All proceeds from the sale of her book (available at the Hickory Stick Bookshop and go to support Steep Rock Association.

Past Events:

Presidents, Their Books and Their Readers 1.11.2021
The Spirit of Christmas Past 12.7.2020
Harry Siddons Mowbray and the American Renaissance 11.2.2020
13th Annual Washington Cemetery Tour 10.30.2020
The Story of a River 7.20.2020 and 8.3.2020