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Past and Present Exhibitions

Gallery Hours: Thursday–Saturday, 11:00–4:00

Current Exhibit

Traveling Exhibits

Connecticut Humanities Council, click here for websiteMade possible by a grant from The Conneticut Humanities Council
For information about the exhibits and its display availability, contact the Society at 329-1183 or e-mail us at

The Irish Community in Stamford 1850 to 1920
Stamford's Little Italy
Polska Ziemia, Stamford's Polish Community

Recent Exhibits

Kids' Stuff: Tracing the Lives of Children Through Their Possessions c. 1700-1950

100 Years in the Making: Highlights from the Society's Collections

Mayor Julius WilenskyBest Face Forward: Portraits from the Society's Collection

The portraits in this exhibit span a time period from the 1830s to the 1970s and present a panoramic view of changing costumes, hairstyles, facial hair and degrees of formality. With few exceptions the subjects were Stamford residents. With the coming of the railroad to Stamford in 1849 and the resulting influx of immigrants, the town became the site of flourishing new industries and of more people who could afford to commission a portrait. Some of these portraits were painted by local artists. Of key importance was the ability to capture the likeness of the sitter, although a slight enhancement was not looked upon unfavorably.

Earlier Exhibits

Lost Streets of Stamford

Urban Renewal: The Emergence of Modern Stamford
(Made possible by a generous grant from F.D. Rich Company Press Release)

Digging up Stamford: An Archaeological History of Stamford, Connecticut, from 11,000 BP to the Present

The exhibit featured material recovered from archaeological sites excavated within the bounds of Stamford, with both prehistoric and historic components. The goal of the exhibit was to show how much can be learned of the past through items of material culture or artifacts (any item made or used by humans) in conjunction with the study of written materials where they are available. In many cases no historic materials are available and the past must be reconstructed solely through archaeological evidence.

Ernest WiegandThere was a presentation of the Native American materials recovered in Stamford along the shore and from area rockshelters. The Society is indebted to Ernest Wiegand of Norwalk Community College for serving as Guest Curator and for making available to show much of this material. He was the principle investigator at many of the sites mentioned.

The Red Gallery presented the historic period and included material excavated from the Society’s own Hoyt-Barnum House as well as from other sites around Stamford. Whenever possible, materials from the Society’s collections were integrated into the exhibit so as to show what the pieces found in a dig would have looked like complete.

Pictures from Opening Day

Pride and Patriotism: Stamford’s Role in World War II

Pearl Harbor attack Julian Reitman Pobie Johnston William Rudman Remagen Bridge Mort Walker

“Pride and Patriotism: Stamford’s Role in World War II,” takes visitors to the frontlines and along the home front in Stamford. The most recent Society exhibit, Portrait of a Family: Stamford through the Legacy of the Davenports, sought to illustrate the history of Stamford through the efforts of one family; in a similar way, this exhibit tells the story of Stamford’s experience during World War II through the lives of individuals who participated abroad as well as in the war effort at home. The individual experiences give exhibit viewers a more personal, intimate experience and appreciation of how the war affected people’s lives directly.

The exhibit includes exclusive, first-person accounts from veterans who are Stamford residents. There are representatives from all branches of the services as well as women’s divisions: the WACS and the WAVES. Stamford veterans were found in all the theaters of the war. In addition, “Pride and Patriotism” uses loaned weapons, uniforms, photographs, and artifacts to tell veterans’ stories. Loaned or society-owned items and objects trace the central role that local companies played in war efforts and reflect daily home-front life. A poster gallery, drawn from the Society’s World War II-era collection, offers visitors a snapshot of the U.S. Government’s efforts to attract and encourage public support for the money, material resources, labor, and day-to-day sacrifices needed for a successful war effort.

Syndicated cartoonist Mort Walker, creator of “Beetle Bailey”and other popular comic strips, was honorary chair of the exhibit. We are gratetful for his permission to reproduce images from his 1945/46 scrapbook for both the exhibit and this online version, in addition to the loan of other artefacts.

The online version of the exhibit strives to present not only the veterans’ stories beyond the excerpts shown in the galleries, but also to display images of objects they lent us for the exhibit – or in some cases donated to the Society – as well as their photos. The battle pages include links to related Internet sites for the more curious. We have added several interviews and biographies, relevant to displays and other references in the exhibit, from the book “An American Town Goes To War” by Tony Pavia, 1995, with the author’s kind permission.

Abraham DavenportPortrait of a Family: Stamford through the Legacy of the Davenports

The exhibit chronicles the history of Stamford through the lens of one of its most important and influential families, the Davenports.

A number of exceptional objects are on display, including Davenport family silver, two William & Mary armchairs belonging to Rev. John of Stamford and Rev. Noah Welles, Davenport Empire chairs and an Empire sideboard, textiles, and portraits of members of the Davenport family. While the majority of the material in the exhibit comes from the Society's collections, other objects and manuscripts are on loan from various institutions as well as from the Davenport family.

The Society has received a 2006 Award of Merit from the Connecticut League of History Organizations for the Davenport Exhibit. Kudos to all involved in making the exhibit happen!

Home of William Gillespie on Washington Avenuechair from the exhibitBest Seats in the House

Chairs from the Charlotte D.S. Cruikshank Collection

Gracious Living in Stamford
Late 19th & Early 20th Centuries

Exteriors and Interiors from Our Photo Collection

cover of invitation to the exhibit - click here for online exhibitConnecticut Humanities Council, click here for websiteStamford's Civil War: At Home and in the Field

sponsored by The Connecticut Humanities Council

Our Victorian Tea and presentation how a lady dressed in the Civil War Era was a resounding success!
Find out for yourself: Layer by Layer with plenty of photos!


Chief Bill Brennan leading his troops at a paradeLaw & Order: The History of the Stamford Police Department 1830-1956

Donations of artifacts for our collection
and your stories are still greatfully accepted!

Other Exhibits

Immigrants' Stamford
Stamford Quilts
Of Significant Influence: Women of Stamford
Stamford Public Schools, Youthful Visions

Lectures and Presentations

Visit the Hoyt Barnum House, the oldest house in Stamford
Virtual Tour