Upcoming Programs

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 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.

Upcoming programs are listed chronologically. Please scroll down the page to find information for each program.

How Baseball Happened: Outrageous Lies Exposed! The True Story Revealed

Date: Monday, April 19, 2021 at 6:30pm

The Gunnery Reunion Game on Washington Green, August 4, 1869. From the collection of the Gunn Historical Museum.

Please join us on Zoom for the illustrated presentation, “How Baseball Happened” with author and historian Thomas W. Gilbert, who will discuss the early days of baseball in America. Registration is required to receive the Zoom link for this free virtual program. Click here to register.

There are several assumptions about the origin of baseball. You may have heard that Alexander Doubleday or Alexander Cartwright invented baseball; or that a club called the Knickerbockers played the first baseball game in 1846; that the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings were baseball’s first professional club; or perhaps that Cooperstown, NY or Hoboken, NJ were the birthplaces of baseball. None of these are true. In this fascinating lecture, Gilbert tells the real story of how baseball became America’s first national sport. Included is Washington, CT’s own remarkable place in baseball history with one of the earliest images of a baseball game in action: the Gunnery Reunion Game played on the Washington Green on August 4, 1869.

About Thomas W. Gilbert

Thomas Gilbert is an expert Baseball Historian and prolific author who has written numerous books on baseball, including: Baseball and the Color Line, Playing First, and Roberto Clemente. John Thorn, Major League Baseball’s Official Historian writers, ” How Baseball Happened is a brilliant new approach to our game and its author tells a hundred stories you haven’t heard before.” He calls it “the next great book of baseball history.” Paul Dickson of the Wall Street Journal praises the book as “a delightful look at a young nation creating a pastime that was love from the first crack of the bat.”

Gilbert obtained his bachelor’s degree in classics and classical languages, literature, and linguistics at Yale University. He lives with his wife in Greenpoint in Brooklyn, NY. Like baseball’s amateur 19th-century forefathers, Tom plays ball on the weekend, socializes with firefighters, and is active in local politics.

Ellen Shipman and the American Garden

Date: Monday, May 17, 2021 at 6:30pm

Please join us on Zoom with art historian Judith B. Tankard for an illustrated presentation about the history of American gardens. Registration is required to receive the Zoom link for this free virtual program. Click here to register. The presentation is being co-sponsored by the Gunn Historical Museum and the Washington Garden Club.

From the 1910s through the 1940s, Ellen Shipman (1869-1950) designed over 600 gardens, from New England and Long Island to the Midwest and the South. Her secluded, lush formal gardens attracted a clientele that included the Fords, Edisons, duPonts, and other prominent names. She trained in the famed Cornish Art Colony in New Hampshire and ran a thriving office in New York City, exclusively employing women. Most of her early gardens have vanished, but several important gardens, such as Longue Vue in New Orleans and the Cummer Museum in Jacksonville, have recently been restored. Her garden “style” continues to influence designers today. This lecture will identify her unique style and her renown as a significant landscape architect.

About Judith B. Tankard

Judith B. Tankard is an art historian specializing in landscape and garden history. She is the author of a dozen books, including Ellen Shipman and the American Garden (University of Georgia Press, 2018), which received the J.B. Jackson Book Prize in 2019. She has written several books on the English gardener Gertrude Jekyll, as well as one on the renowned American landscape architect Beatrix Farrand. She received a Master of Arts in Art History from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and taught at the Landscape Institute of Harvard University for 20 years. In 2000, Tankard received a Gold Medal from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.

Tories, Spies, and Traitors: Divided Loyalty in Revolutionary Connecticut

Date: Monday, June 14, 2021 at 6:30pm

Please join us on Zoom where Taylor McClure, Connecticut Historical Society Museum Educator, will present on Connecticut during the American Revolution. Registration is required to receive the Zoom link for this free virtual program. Click here to register.

Which side are you on? That’s the question that every single person in Connecticut, including here in Washington, had to answer in 1775 as the thirteen colonies began a rebellion against British rule. Loyalty was not only a matter of words or opinion. For soldiers and civilians alike, loyalty could mean loss of fortune, friends, and even of life. This presentation reveals stories – some well known, some obscure – of Nutmeggers, including one from Washington, CT, who risked and sacrificed to support their chosen side during this “tumultuous jarring time of civil war.”

Revolutionary War Graphic of a captured Tory. From the collection of the Connecticut Historical Society.

About Taylor McClure

Taylor McClure is a Museum Educator at the Connecticut Historical Society (CHS). The CHS is the official, statewide historical society of Connecticut. Established in Hartford in 1825, the CHS is one of the oldest historical societies in the United States. It is a non-profit museum, library, archive, and education center with a collection numbering over 270,000 artifacts and graphics and over 100,000 books and pamphlets related to the history of Connecticut. It also has one of the largest costume and textile collections in New England.

McClure teaches educational programs for school and adult groups, both at the CHS and on location. She is a former high school social studies teacher with a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in teaching from the University of Washington.