The Newtown Historical Society is hosting an open house at its headquarters, the Matthew Curtiss House, on Sunday, May 19, from noon to 4 p.m.
One of the oldest buildings on Main Street, it was constructed about 1750, and purchased by Matthew Curtiss in 1781. Curtiss continued to live there until his death in 1824. He is sometimes called Junior, in deference to his father, the first of the family to live in Newtown, though the elder apparently lived in the Berkshire section of town.
Click here for more information, or call 203-426-5937.
The Historical Society, which mainstains the house as a museum, displays its collections as a way to represent the house throughout its life, not just the period of Curtiss ownership. Thus, the artifacts range from a tall case clock made in Newtown in the 1780s by Ebenezer Smith, to a 19th-century weathervane that swung round the barn of Scrabble inventor James Brunot in the 20th century, to 20th century graphics and needlework. All the items in the house reflect either a direct Newtown connection or are examples of things that might well have been used in the town, whether for work, play, or to celebrate an occasion.
Costumed docents will be available at the open house to lead tours, or visitors can walk through the house on their own.
There will be a special event demonstrating paper quilling. This involves rolled and shaped strips of paper that are glued together to form decorative designs which can be added to other objects such as greeting cards, or left on their own as pieces of art. Quilling, or paper filigree, is an ancient technique dating to at least the Renaissance. The workshop will be offered by Lisa Ronalter. In the demonstration you will learn the history of the craft, and then, join in and learn how to arrange, curl and bend small strips of paper to create beautiful and detailed artwork to take home with you. All supplies provided.
The Newtown Historical Society is an entirely volunteer organization with no paid staff, and volunteer staffing limits the Society to one open house per month during the spring and fall.