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Architect Mark Markiewicz’s rendering of the Jim Bach Special Collections Museum

The Jim and Dede Bartlett Center for New Canaan History

At the core of this reimagined campus is the creation of a 1,000 sq. ft. space – a permanent exhibition of New Canaan’s evolution from its years as Canaan Parish, to its incorporation in 1801, to the present day. It will tell the story of artists, architects, captains of industry, and religious leaders, pioneers such as Eliot Noyes, the father of industrial design; Alice King, who single-handedly built the first black neighborhood in New Canaan; and Mary Louise King, who was the first to organize and document New Canaan’s history.

Thanks to the Leadership Gift of Jim and Dede Bartlett, long time Museum supporters, and the innovation of Metcalfe Design Group and Richard Lewis Media Group, this exhibition will include an animated video on the evolution of downtown, media consoles highlighting figures from New Canaan’s past and present, and favorites from the Museum’s permanent collections of clothing, tools, and decorative arts. Relics and curiosities on display, photographs, and easy to understand interpretive signage will make this center a destination for visitors to explore and learn.

It is scheduled to open in the spring of 2024.

The Jim Bach Special Collections Museum

This new building is named in honor of a truly beloved New Canaanite, New Canaan’s historian, and a longtime supporter of most of New Canaan’s charitable institutions. It will house a beautiful, impeccably restored 1825 Demarest Carriage – a gift of the Luddy Family; Janice Luddy has served longer than any other Board Governor and is a lifelong champion of the work we do here.

The Special Collections Museum also will house a print shop with an operational Hoe-Acorn press, the only one in CT, donated by the Advertiser’s Hersam family. This section will allow for print-related programs and explore the impact that a small-town newspaper had on its community.

The final portion of this new building will include the original studio used by painter Addison Millar, donated by the family of sculptor Solon Borglum, allowing us always to be able to tell the important story of the work of the Silvermine Art Colony.

The National Landmark John Rogers Studio

The restored John Rogers Studio will house an exhibition on the life and work of this New Canaan resident and important American sculptor. The 1875 studio is the first of only two buildings in New Canaan designated as a National Landmark – recognizing architecture that reflects American culture. With the gift of 63 additional sculpture groups from the Greenwich Historical Society, the New Canaan Museum now has the world’s largest collection of works by John Rogers. The exterior work is complete, and the interior exhibit design has begun. BassamFellows has donated the furniture. Expected reopening is Winter 2024.

Archival space for the clothing and textile collection

The Museum’s clothing and textile collection will now claim additional archival space in the attic of the Town House. The collection spans from the 1780s to the 1960s and contains more than 6,000 pieces. The entire collection is nearly digitized (a process that has taken more than 3 years), and will be an invaluable resource for students, scholars, and fashion enthusiasts. The new space will store men’s and children’s clothes.

Six years ago, the New Canaan Museum & Historical Society embarked on a systematic campaign to:

Much of this work is complete.

The final phase – four initiatives outlined above – will transform the institution, making it a vital part of New Canaan’s rich cultural life for decades to come.

Please consider a gift to support these initiatives and to ensure that the oldest organization dedicated to celebrating New Canaan can be a vibrant part of its future.

The campaign is for

Early pledges, gifts, and grants have garnered

toward this goal

For additional information, discussion of naming opportunities, or a gift at any level, please contact:

Nancy Geary, Executive Director

203 966 1776 Ext-1

Please make check payable to:

New Canaan Museum & Historical Society 

13 Oenoke Ridge, New Canaan, CT 06840