Explore our exhibits for yourself! All exhibitions are included with your admission, as well as the open storage display in our programs gallery. Many of our past exhibits are included here in a virtual format which is accessible below.
Interested in visiting with a group or holding a private tour? Please reach out to our Programs and Collections Director at firstname.lastname@example.org
On view through November 11th, 2023
LEGACY: THE ADAIRS OF WESTPORT
BITTERSWEET: CHOCOLATE IN THE AMERICAN COLONIES
For nearly one hundred years Benjamin Adair and his descendants called Westport home. Likely born into slavery in North Carolina, Adair built a prosperous life through a series of smart investments and his association with financier Morris Ketchum. Married to Ursula Mingo of Long Island’s Shinnecock nation, for decades Adair’s daughters became prominent educators and creatives, yet their story and Westport Legacy was interrupted when the family lost their homestead through unfair real estate taxation. Rediscovered in 2020, their legacy is re-explored in this exhibit built using artifacts from descendants.
Experience the growing, harvesting, and historical process of making cocoa in Westport Museum’s hands-on exhibition that explores the connection between chocolate and Westport’s mercantile past in the 18th and 19th century. Learn more about the history of the cocoa industry in the American colonies and how the Saugatuck River and other regional waterways supported this trade.
I THEE WED: BRIDAL FASHION FROM THE COLLECTIONS
Visitors can explore several examples of wedding gowns—both white and the less traditional—in the Museum’s collection in I Thee Wed: Western Bridal Fashion from the Collection. Discover how these iconic dresses and their place in the world of fashion relate to wealth, class, gender, and women’s rights. Or try creating your own wedding dress with fashions from around the world at our interactive magnet wall.
On view at the Westport Playhouse April 11- June 2023. Open during Playhouse box office hours; during intermission; before and after shows.
MUSIC OF THE AMERICAN SPIRIT: BLACK EXCELLENCE AND THE SOUNDS OF THE JAZZ AGE
Explore the history behind Ain’t Misbehavin’ with our new micro-exhibit in the Westport Playhouse’s lobby exploring the historical events that led to the Harlem Renaissance and the music featured in the play. This installation is the first of three exhibits accompanying productions during the theater’s 2023/24 season. Featuring costumes from Westport Museum’s collection and original research, the displays add context to the action on the stage.
Back in 2018, Westport Museum held a year-long exhibit called “History of Westport in 100 Objects” in which we shared the nearly four hundred year history of the town using different objects. We are bringing back that always-popular exhibit here–virtually.
Westport Museum’s award winning exhibit “Remembered” retells the history of African American families in Westport from colonial days to the present. Out of a history born of slavery, black Westporters persevered, gaining freedom and creating lives in the town as educators, freedom fighters, artists, patriots and respected citizens.
“Dragon Lady” highlights the World War II reporter, Chicago tribune Berlin bureau chief and longtime Westport resident Sigrid Schultz—as well as how her reporting reflects many controversial issues still present in the United States today.
“Taking the Cure”, casts a lens on the social management of illness–particularly mental illness–from the dawn of psychiatric care in the 19th century through the 1960s. The exhibit examines the ways in which public health has been managed over time and the various ways that individual members of society participated in the process.
Nell Dorr (1893-1988) was born in Ohio and apprenticed as a portrait photographer under the guidance of her father, John Jacob Becker, a professional chemist and photographer. She excelled in her craft at her studio in Westport at a time when few women worked as professionals in the field.