CLOTHING & TEXTILES
We have the second largest collection of antique clothes and costumes in the state of Connecticut (after the Connecticut Historical Society.) There are thousands of dresses, skirts, shoes, handbags, hats, accessories, tuxedos, suits, and military uniforms dating as early as the 1760s right up through the 1970s.
Housed in the Hanford-Silliman House, this collection consists of more than 150 pieces of American, English, Oriental and Continental (European) pewter. They include porringers, plates, wine carriers, teapots, whale oil lamps, broth bowls and sauce lamps, among many other items, in knob, shell, double acorn and other designs. Pewter, a man-made alloy, contains approximately 90% tin and 10% copper, although the proportions differed by country, period and different craftsman. The NCM&HS collection contains a range of weights and thicknesses, some of the heaviest being the David Melville porringer, the Cromwell trencher and the French broth bowls.
PAINTINGS & FINE ART
Art: The New Canaan Museum & Historical Society has an extensive collection of art. In addition to the permanent exhibition of Augusta Simon paintings on display in the Town House, and the large collection of sculpture by John Rogers on display in the Rogers Studio, the NCM&HS houses art of the artists from the Silvermine Guild – George Avison Solon Borglum, D. Putnam Brinley, Justin Gruelle, Howard Hildenbrandt and Addison Millar, drawings by Charlie Miller, the illustrator for the New Canaan Advertiser, and prints and drawings by New Canaan’s beloved Walter Richards.
The Noyes Collection: A collection of sermons and letters from the Noyes family, who were preachers at the Congregational Church. It is one of the NCM&HS’s largest and oldest collections.
The Taggart Collection: In 2017, Bill Taggart donated his family’s photographs, records, and memorabilia to the NCM&HS. This collection, which was on exhibit in 2018, highlights the life and work of four generations of this venerable New Canaan family.
MID-CENTURY MODERN ARCHITECTURE
New Canaan is widely known for its scores of houses designed in the decades after World War II by some of the nation’s best architects, including the mid-century modern “Harvard Five” – Marcel Breuer, Philip Johnson, Jon Johansen, Eliot Noyes and Landis Gores.
We maintain a research library of more than 3,500 volumes, along with scores of manuscripts, deeds, newspapers, photographs and other documents dating to the colonial era.
The Historical Society has an extensive collection of books, articles and other materials relating to mid-century modern houses in New Canaan, including a comprehensive index of all houses that have since been demolished.