KHS 2017 Exhibit
New summer exhibit examined Founders of Kent
This summer’s exhibit by the Kent Historical Society explored the challenges faced by the founders of this small New England town, and made connections to the familiar government and community features of life in Kent today.
“The Founders of Kent: Starting from Scratch on the Colonial Frontier” was presented in the Seven Hearths Museum with a public opening July 15 and continued weekends 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through the end of October.
This exhibit examined the Proprietors, the small group of wealthy men who by colonial custom, set up and controlled both the town government and the church. However, this presentation brought the important supporting actors to the front of the stage in order to learn more about the founding families of the town. It also included a focus on those who willingly risked their lives by leaving comfortable homes and villages to trudge, often on foot, clear across the state into that wilderness where there were no doctors, no stores, not even a single shelter from which to start realizing their dreams.
The exhibit delved into the harsh realities they faced, such as the brutal winter of 1740; the economic rewards mostly unavailable to them in their former hometowns; the bonds they formed as the little town grew; and finally, the role they played in the early American populist religious movement known as the Great Awakening, which rocked Kent to its core.
“The Founders of Kent” provided a glimpse into the connection to today’s governmental structure in town, as well as other aspects of life that stretch back to 1738. Many direct descendants of the Comstocks, Skiffs, Fullers, Roots and other settlers are still living in town today.
Throughout 2017 the Society focused on the town’s founders and offered a variety of topics through its Sunday Series lectures on colonial life to enhance the exhibit and to help explain the emergence of one New England town in the 18th century. There was also a lecture on the role religion played in The Great Awakening.
The Society is grateful to the exhibition sponsors, Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, Kent Barns and Kent Lions Club, for their financial support.
The Kent Historical Society’s mission is to collect, preserve, interpret and present the rich history of Kent as well as to provide educational and research material to enrich the public understanding of Kent’s artistic and cultural heritage. For more information, call 860-927-4587.