Upcoming Programs & Registration

Below you will find details about the Gunn Museum’s special, one-time programs. For information about upcoming events 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 offerings, please contact us at info@gunnhistoricalmuseum.org or 860-868-7756. Library staff is also

available in person and over the phone at 860-868-7586 for help.

Raising the Curtain: The History of Theater in Washington

Monday, December 13, 2021 at 6:30pm on Zoom

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Program Description:

Washington Play Poster, circa 1880

This guest lecture, co-sponsored by the Gunn Historical Museum and The Dramalites, will explore the many ways in which Washington, Connecticut residents enjoyed, performed in, and learned from the performances of plays and other entertainments from the mid 19th century to the present day. Theater in Washington at times confronted social norms and traditions, and at other times celebrated them. From anti-slavery productions to patriotic pageants and re-enactments, from commercially-produced minstrel shows to the productions of gifted amateurs such as the Dramalites, theater has been an important part of community life, bringing together residents from all walks of life.

Sarah Griswold

About the Lecturer:

A graduate of the Wykeham Rise School as an Art Major back in what she calls the school’s golden age, Sarah Griswold is an Independent Consultant and Mentor to cultural and nonprofit organizations throughout Connecticut.  Recent clients include the Institute for American Indian Studies and many others.  She is a board member of the Mary and Eliza Freeman Center for History and Community in Bridgeport.  Previously, she was Curator of the Gunn Historical Museum and Executive Director for the Seabury Society for the Preservation of the Glebe House in Woodbury, CT. Her short-lived theatrical performing career began and ended in fourth grade where she delighted in being the wicked stepmother in the Woodbury Elementary School production of Hansel and Gretel. While at the Gunn she presented an exhibit on Washington Theater, and she recently left the board of Bated Breath Theatre Company, an organization that is completely rethinking what it is to do theater.

Pilobolus Origins

Monday, January 17, 2022 at 6:30pm on Zoom

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Program Description:

Pilobolus LOGO by Juliana Sohn

Join Artistic Directors Renée Jaworski and Matt Kent in a conversation about Pilobolus, with Special Guests to be announced! In Origins, you will get a glimpse of the nascent and yet unnamed company performing their first piece called Pilobolus, and learn how the company evolved to secure its place in the history books through vintage and rarely seen footage, personal insights, and more. This virtual experience includes an interactive Q&A session with the Artistic Directors. This guest lecture is co-sponsored by the Gunn Historical Museum and Pilobolus.

In 1970 several young men enrolled at Dartmouth College and took a dance class to fulfill a physical education requirement.  With interests as diverse as history, philosophy, and psychology, the idea of standing alone, in front of a class, and moving, was frightening.  So they “clung to one another for both moral and physical support” building dances as a collective while at the same time creating something they thought was “cool”. Following graduation the “company without a name” headed to a member’s dairy farm in Vermont where they continued their movement discoveries; creating choreography that relied on their collective creativity, humor, and interest in telling stories with their bodies.  It was here that PILOBOLUS was born; and audiences loved this new kind of Modern Dance. Today, Pilobolus is known the world over for testing the limits of human physicality to explore the beauty and the power of connected bodies, collaborating with some of the greatest influencers, thinkers, and creators in the world. Author Robert Pranzatelli has been interviewing founders and former dancers and delving into the fascinating and inspiring story behind how Pilobolus came to be. Join Pilobolus Artistic Directors Matt Kent and Renée Jaworski for this unprecedented look into the history of a seriously creative company.

ABOUT PILOBOLUS

Since 1971, Pilobolus has tested the limits of human physicality to explore the beauty and power of connected bodies. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Pilobolus has drawn on these decades of experience in telling stories with the human form to reach audiences in new ways, from our physically distanced Roving Art Safari to digital performances and classes. Today, Pilobolus is thrilled to return to the proscenium stage, for its 50th Anniversary, performing works that span our half century. This innovative dance company has created and toured over 120 pieces of repertory to more than 65 countries, and collaborated with more than 75 organizations in finance, retail, media, fashion, sports, and more to create bespoke performances for television, film, and live events. Learn more at pilobolus.org.

About the Lecturers: 

Renee Jaworski

RENÉE JAWORSKI (Co-Artistic Director) has had an extensive creative career working with Pilobolus since 2000 and in 2011 was honored to have been chosen by the founding Artistic Directors to lead Pilobolus into and beyond its post succession evolution in 2011.She choreographs and creates projects and collaborations for stage, film and video; facilitates group workshops and projects in diverse communities with dancers and non-dancers and oversees the daily functioning and long term planning for the company’s creative endeavors.

Matt Kent

MATT KENT (Co-Artistic Director) began his career with Pilobolus as a dancer in 1996, helping create many pieces, including classics like Gnomen and A Selection, a collaboration with Maurice Sendak. In 2011, Matt was chosen by the founding Artistic Directors, and to lead Pilobolus in its post succession evolution. He has directed for the stage and screen choreographing on horses, chinese acrobats, giant Michael Curry puppets, Zombies on the Walking Dead, jugglers, actors, LED umbrellas and dancers.

Washington History Club at Night

“Notable Citizens of Washington, Then & Now”

Tuesday, January 25, 2022, at 6:30pm; Hybrid Program: Attend In Person at the Gunn Library or on Zoom

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Men of the New Preston Congregational Church, circa 1954. Photograph by Fred Stoneall. From the collection of the Gunn Historical Museum.

Join us for a lively group conversation, moderated by long-time Washington resident Dimitri Rimsky, about Washington’s notable citizens from the past; those remembered fondly in our hearts and minds, who contributed so much to our community and forever shaped our town’s history. Bring your favorite stories and memories to share!

The Washington History Club at Night, a program of the Gunn Historical Museum, meets in the Wykeham Room of the Gunn Library to discuss the history of Washington, Washington Depot, Marbledale, New Preston and Woodville. Share your memories with the group or just come and listen to the fascinating conversation about our town’s past. Seating is limited and registration is required to attend in person or on Zoom. The Gunn Library is located at 5 Wykeham Rd. on Washington Green. We ask that everyone attending this in-person indoor program to please wear a face mask.

Washington, An Agrarian Community: Past, Present & Future 

Monday, February 21, 2022 at 6:30pm on Zoom

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Panoramic photograph of Clifford Hough’s Farm at 102 East Street in Washington, CT circa 1910. From the collection of Janice (Sjonost) Burnham.

Program Description:

Washington has long enjoyed a rich and varied history in agriculture from the earliest settlers who were primarily homesteaders who grew row crops, tobacco, and engaged in small scale husbandry and local market selling, to the thriving dairy industry of the 19th and early 20th centuries that supplied the large cities to the south, to what now occupies the agricultural landscape, namely revitalized small to mid sized organic vegetable farms, orchards and pasture raised animals.  In many ways the type of farming has full circle (in scale) though todays farmers who call Washington home have had to develop new markets, and create innovative economic models like CSA programs, all while trying to keep the regions dwindling agricultural presence in tact. This lecture will explore the ways in which Washington can and will remain agricultural.

Patrick Horan

About the Lecturer:
Patrick Horan is co-owner with his twin brother Quincy of Waldingfield Farm, a certified organic farm founded on family land in 1990. He has been farming full-time since
 2006. From 1996 to 2006 he worked in finance at R.G. Niederhoffer Capital Management (while working on the farm most weekends), and also pursued theater. He is a graduate of Union College (B.A. English) and The Stella Adler Conservatory (MFA program). He is responsible for all marketing, sales, and general operations. at the farm.  www.waldingfieldfarm.com. Patrick also works with older brother Daniel at Five Acre Farms, a New York dairy brand. Five Acre Farms markets local milk, eggs, and apple products from the Northeast for sale in retail outlets (Shop Rite, Fairway, key Food) and food service. www.fiveacrefarms.com, He and his wife and son, Suzie and Griffin, live Washington. CT.

History of the Shepaug Railroad

Monday, March 21, 2022 at 6:30pm on Zoom

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Program Description:

Shepaug Railroad Crew in 1906. Left to right: Mr. Benedict, Tom Phillips, C. Straub, Robert Barnum, Mr. Kane, Lyman Bristol, Frank Stone. From the Collection of the Gunn Historical Museum.

The Shepaug, Litchfield, and Northern Railroad was a short independent railroad that was chartered as the Shepaug Valley Railroad in 1868.  It ultimately operated as the Litchfield Division of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad until being abandoned in 1948. Much of the line, which stretched from Hawleyville to Litchfield, remains in place as rail trails to this day. The presentation will give hikers a new appreciation for the line that they traverse.

Col. Donald A. Woodworth, Jr., USAF (Ret.)

About the Lecturer:                        Col. Donald Woodworth, Jr. formerly of Oxford, has resided in O’Fallon, IL since 1986, where he served as an air transportation officer with the Military Airlift Command at nearby Scott Air Force Base and where he remained following his retirement to work as a transportation and logistics consultant for the Northrop Grumman Corporation. Upon graduation from UConn in 1965, Don was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the USAF and served in many locations in the United States and overseas.  His career was book-ended by service in Vietnam and the First Gulf War but his most enjoyable tours of duty were spent in the United Kingdom. Don has a life-long interest in Connecticut railroads and has a special affection for the Shepaug.