Middletown, circa 1899; courtesy of Patrick Shugrue.
Our Mission: Dedicated to preserving the history of Middlesex County and providing programs for adults and children to increase their understanding of the area's past.
Within These Walls:
One House, One Family, Two Centuries
Their Own Stories:
Voices from Middletown's Melting Pot (Online exhibit)
Saturday, December 7, 2013. Mansfield House open from noon-3pm. Take a tour of our updated exhibits and shop for holiday gifts with a Middletown theme!
Middletown gift idea: Shopping for someone who attended the old Middletown or Woodrow Wilson High School? Miss the old City Hall? This afghan has scenes of Middletown old and new. $45, available in maroon or navy.
Middletown history online and on the air!
Executive Director Deborah Shapiro was featured in a recent FOXCT Hidden History CT piece on the history of Middletown bridges: http://www.ctnow.com/news/connecticut/hiddenhistory/
John Bank's Civil War Blog has a series of posts on General Joseph Mansfield and Robert Hubbard, Middletown natives who served in the war. http://john-banks.blogspot.com/
Wesleyan Assistant Professor of Anthropology Sarah Croucher has created a site, Middletown Materials, on local archaeological digs and the research her students are doing on the artifacts recovered: http://middletownmaterials.research.wesleyan.edu/
Our blog, '150 years ago in Middletown, Connecticut', allows you to experience life in Middletown as it happened, through excerpts from The Constitution, Middletown's Republican newspaper.
For updates on events and information about the Society, follow us on Twitter!
November 29, 2013. Holiday on Main at the Mansfield House. Thanks to all who stopped by to visit!
November 19, 2013. Allegra di Bonaventura talk on her new book, For Adam's Sake: A Family Saga in Colonial New England, exploring the complex relationship between masters and slaves in 18th century Connecticut. A wonderful talk and a great discussion afterward!
October 22, 2013. Talk by Peter Gedrys, "Furniture Finishes: Past and Present." It was standing room only at the Mansfield House for Peter Gedrys' talk and demonstration. Thanks to Peter for sharing his knowledge and expertise, and to all who attended!
October 13, 2013: 28th Annual Antique and Classic Car & Truck Show. We had 95 vehicles entered and a beautiful day! Thanks to all the entrants and attendees, and congratulations to our winners. For photographs of the feature car and the winners, go to our Facebook page.
September 7, 2013: Civil War Day at the Mansfield House. Thanks to everyone who attended, and members of Company F of the 14th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, musical group Back Swamp, speaker Bob Larkin, and author John Banks!
August 25, 2013: Wadsworth Mansion Open Air Market. Thanks to all who visited our table and played our trivia game!.
August 10, 2013: Summer Jazz on the Lawn, Mansfield House Gardens. The Mike Augeri Jazz Project gave a wonderful concert to benefit the Middlesex County Historical Society in the beautiful back garden of the Mansfield House. Musicians Mike Augeri, Sinan Bakir, Orice Jenkins, Paul Fuller, Jim Bosco and Rich Tortorigi performed jazz standards as well as original compositions by Sinan Bakir. See photos on our Facebook page.
July 28, 2013: Connecticut Jane Austen Society visit. The Society's annual convention was held in Middletown this year, and members of the Society visited the Mansfield House where Executive Director Debby Shapiro gave them a tour of the house and gardens.
July 24, 2013. Luncheon in the Mansfield House Gardens. A beautiful day, just in time for the event! Thanks to all 80 people who attended. See photos on our Facebook page.
June 29, 2013: Reception at Highlawn. An Historical Society fundraiser at the beautiful home of George and Camille Camp. It was a wonderful evening; thanks to everyone who attended! David Bauer's photographs of the event are on our Facebook page.
June 8, 2013: Connecticut Open House Day at the Mansfield House. Over 50 visitors on a beautiful day in Middletown.
June 6, 2013: Sheedy Contest Award Ceremony and Reception. Congratulations to the winners and their families! Click here for more on the contest and this year's winners.
April 23, 2013: Middlesex County Historical Society Annual Meeting, at Congregation Adath Israel, Middletown. The business meeting was followed by Class of 1958 Distinguished Professor Lois Brown from Wesleyan University. Her talk was entitled: 'So at any cost I will go": Nineteenth-Century African American Journeys to the Civil War South, a fascinating and lively exploration of the lives and writings of Harriet Tubman and Charlotte Forten, two women of very different backgrounds who shared a passion for helping others to freedom and independence. Professor Brown's talk was accessible and very engaging!
April 4, 2013: Beman Triangle Exhibit Opening Reception. Wesleyan Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology Sarah Croucher, her students and local residents have been conducting an archaeological dig of the Beman Triangle in Middletown, where an African-American community thrived in the nineteenth century. The exhibit opening was very well attended and the talk fascinating.
March 7, 2013: Shock and Awe in 1862: American Writers and the Meaning of the Civil War, talk by Christopher Hager, Assistant Professor of English at Trinity College. Professor Hager gave a fascinating talk about how prominent writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Rebecca Harding Davis were transformed by the war, and how writing helped transform freedmen's view of themselves. Prof. Hager is the author of Word By Word: Emancipation and the Act of Writing, recently published by Harvard University Press.
Thanks to Prof. Hager and to everyone who braved the snowstorm to attend!
January 31, 2013. Quiltmaking, 1941 - 1945 - The War Years. Quilt historian Sue Reich gave an informative and powerfully moving talk on quilts made during World War II, and displayed some of the many quilts in her collection. Women during the war years made quilts to express patriotism and support for the war effort, to donate to the Red Cross and other organizations, and to pass the time while sons, husbands and fathers were at war. A large and appreciative audience was on hand. Thanks to Sue and to everyone who attended! Photos are on our Facebook page.
January 22, 2013, 7pm. Panic In Connecticut: Accused Witches Have Their Say. Actress Virginia Wolf gave a powerful and moving performance to a standing-room only audience, in a one-woman show that brought to life 5 of the women accused of witchcraft in seventeenth-century Connecticut. Thanks to Virginia and to everyone who attended this program!.
For previous events, see our Past events and stories page.
Connecticut Civil War Commemoration
Over the next four years, Connecticut will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War with lectures, re-enactments, workshops and programs. Click here for a list of upcoming events.
Awards for Hard & Stirring Times exhibit
The American Association for State and Local History awarded the Middlesex County Historical Society a 2010 Award of Merit for the exhibit: Hard & Stirring Times: Middletown & the Civil War.
The Connecticut League of History Organizations awarded the Middlesex County Historical Society a 2010 Award of Merit for the exhibit Hard & Stirring Times: Middletown & the Civil War, the online version of the exhibit, and the development of curriculum using the Society's Civil War archives for local middle and high schools.
Thank you for your support!
The Middlesex County Community Foundation awarded the Society a grant for the upgrade of this website.
The Connecticut Humanities Council provided support for the development of the Civil War section of the website.
Thanks to the Middlesex County Historical Society's Antique & Classic Car Show Committee for their continued support of the Society.
And most of all, thanks to our members for giving their time, talents and donations to the Society. Your support is essential to the work we do, and we deeply appreciate it!