Opening reception June 4, 2022 from 4pm – 7pm
Exhibit open weekends June 4 – July 5
Above House of Books
Signature Quilt accepted into collection
The Kent Historical Society will formally accept the 2016 Signature Quilt into its permanent collection during its Annual Meeting Sunday, Oct. 16 at 2 p.m. in the Kent Town Hall.
The quilt was designed and sewn by the Kent Quilters, a group of 20 local women, who created the beautiful quilt that features 600 signatures of Kent residents that are highlighted by appliques that depict several Kent scenes, as well as a band of curving blue symbolizing the Housatonic River.
The signature quilt project was begun as a way to permanently preserve signatures from full- and part-time Kent residents. It also became a fundraiser for the Historical Society with residents paying $5 to include their signature.
One of aspects of the quilt is that it will capture a look at who was living in the town in 2016 for people in the future looking back at the 21st century. Curator Marge Smith, who is also one of the Kent Quilters, has said that one benefit of signature quilts is that genealogists can use these quilts as a way to determine who lived in a town at a certain period of time.
Jane Zatlin, who is the group coordinator for the Kent Quilters, said the group enjoys working together on community quilts. The completed quilt was displayed in August at the Kent Sidewalk Festival.
The volunteer quilters were able to work with Kent Center School and got all of the students to each sign a muslin square to incorporate the town’s youngest residents into the quilt.
Legend of Molly Fisher Rock draws interest
The various legends of Molly Fisher Rock were explored in May through a lecture and hike to the actual location. Those attending a talk in Town Hall May 15 learned that there are various theories of why there are markings on the large rock and what they might mean. A hike in cooperation with the Kent Land Trust drew a crowd over over 40 people May 21 and participants hike up the hill to a ridge, where the rock is located.
Now covered with quite a bit of moss and lichen, the markings are getting harder and harder to see, but Chris Harrington and KHS Trustee Roger Gonzales were able to spot them and point them out to everyone. Gonzales explained that the rock has been certified as Celtic site and he told the story of folk singer, U. Utah Phillips, who visited the area and pointed out the eye of Horus on another rock. It is a natural formation of quartz that creates a human eye.
“We were climbing up and he said, ‘you never told me anything about the circle,’ “ Gonzales said. “He said, ‘You’re standing right in the middle of it.’ “
There were a number of stones is a big clearing, he explained. Gonzales also pointed out how the Molly Fisher Rock aligns with another rock during the Summer Soltice.
During the Sunday Series lecture, Alicia North of Cornwall and Chris Harrington of Kent shared stories about growing up on the property and being taken to the rock by their grandfather. The legend is published by the Bulls Bridge Inn on their web site.
South Kent School teacher Pat Bonis finished up the talk by sharing how he likes to take his students to the rock and share the mysteries about it, because they are fascinated by the stories. The area was formed by glaciers but he said it is quite unusual to have such large rocks at the top of a ridge.
Skiff Mountain Schoolhouse
The little pre-Revolutionary one room schoolhouse sits high atop Skiff Mountain on the edge of the Marvelwood School campus.
Given to the Kent Historical Society in 1972 by Pauline Skiff Gunn, a descendant of the original builder, the schoolhouse is now visited as part of the Society’s “History for Kids” program with the Kent Center School. However, the schoolhouse is sadly underused, and we are investigating more avenues of presentation for this little gem.
The Skiff Mountain School still stands at its original site on the windy peak of this mountain. The structure is definitely pre-1812, and probably is nearer to 1760.
The land on which the building stands was owned originally by Nathan Skiff, whose properties and large house, dated 1766, still belong to family members. The three Skiff households that lived on the mountain built the school to serve the needs of their children and those of other local families.
In 1972 Mrs. Pauline Skiff Gunn deeded the school house to the Kent Historical Society. The building was then carefully restored and authentically furnished. An original narrow desk for four children is in place. Many of the accessories on display here were gifts from former students at the school.
At one time, there were 14 separate school districts in Kent, each with its own schoolhouse. Skiff Mountain (District #14) is one of two remaining as they were in their heyday, the other being Kent Hollow (#12). Nine have been turned into residences: Flanders (#1), Kent Plains (#2), North Kent (#3), Macedonia (#4), Bulls Bridge (#5), South Kent (#6), Geer Mountain (#7), Rocks (#8), and Fuller Mountain (#10). Only East Kent (#9), Ore Hill (#13) and the unnamed #11 are now gone.
New summer exhibit examines chairs from the 17th and 18th centuries
This summer’s exhibit by the Kent Historical Society will explore the differences in style and design among chairs (yes–the furniture) from circa 1600 – 1800, with examples on loan from private collections.
“Put It Down Over There: Musings on Early Chairs” will be presented in the Seven Hearths Museum with a public opening July 30 and continues weekends 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through September 5.
Free admission to the exhibit for members; $5 suggested donation for non-members.
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, see www.kenthistoricalsociety.org or call 860-927-4587.
Tours of Seven Hearths Available by Appointment
The Kent Historical Society is offering tours of its Seven Hearths Museum by appointment.
Our ongoing restoration of the museum continues. It is something that has been underway since our 1978 inheritance of “Seven Hearths,” a large pre-Revolutionary house in the Flanders Historic District of Kent. The structure dates back to 1751, when it was constructed by the Beebe family.
Seven Hearths was bequeathed to the Society by its long-time owner, noted New York artist, George Laurence Nelson. He had bought the house in 1919, and invested a great deal of time in “fixing it up.” Fortunately for posterity, Nelson respected the ancient bones of the house and documented his process in an essay entitled New Life for Old Timber. He noted where he had removed walls, converted rooms, and even where he had covered up the names of fur pelts chalked on some beams upstairs.
Anyone wishing to visit is asked to make an appointment by phoning the office, 860-927-4587 or by emailing.
Summer Art Enrichment Program 2018
The Kent Historical Society will offer five weeks of Art Enrichment Programs for children this summer. There will be opportunities for young artists from ages 5 to 12 to explore their artistic talents. This year will feature new classes in a variety of mediums and new instructor
The Historical Society wants to foster arts education for young people in our area to honor the memory of George Laurence Nelson, a pre-eminent 20th Century artist known for his portraits, landscapes and florals, who lived at Seven Hearths for many years and bequeathed his 18th century home to the Kent Historical Society to operate as a museum.
Some comments from parents: “The instructor was great and the projects were so creative.” “She enjoyed the group creation of comics. The creative interaction was fun for her.” “She enjoyed the chance to immerse herself in painting.”
KHS believes that arts education and other forms of cultural enrichment are essential to a young person’s whole and healthy development. The Society offers Summer Arts Enrichment to encourage children’s innate creativity and boost creative thinking and problem solving, while expanding their experience and appreciation of the arts.
Classes take place in the Kent Historical Society’s “Art Barn,” an indoor/outdoor space on the campus of the Historical Society’s Seven Hearths property, facing gardens and a woodland that will be used as extended classroom space. At the culmination of each class there will be an exhibition to allow parents and family to see all of the creations completed through the week.
Registration is not complete until payment is received, either by check or online. Space is limited in each class. Fees are $110 for non-members and $100 for members per session. Join as a Family member for $50. There is no discount for partial week attendance.
Final registration deadline is June 12. Checks to Kent Historical Society may be mailed to KHS, Art Enrichment Program, PO Box 651, Kent, CT 06757.
Refunds for Summer Art Enrichment will only be made up until 30 days before the child’s class begins, if we are able to fill the space with another applicant, less a $30 deposit/administrative fee. Membership fees are not refundable.
Week 1 Sessions Cancelled (due to low enrollment)
Week 2 Sessions Cancelled (due to low enrollment)
Week 3 What the Art? for ages 5-7, mornings 9 am to noon, July 16-20
Children will explore interesting ways to create something new, like torn paper, collage, shapes and colors, everyday items, photos, and other alternative mediums. We’ll use picture books as inspiration from celebrated illustrators such as Eric Carle and Leo Lionni. Then, expand to other methods, and create artwork based on our own stories. Combining different styles will allow students to create a look of their own. This class is led by Wendy Clery, who has a love of exploring her own creativity and is the owner of Illuminate Life CT, which offers creative-based coaching through classes and workshops. She previously taught art to local veterans at the Danbury Veteran’s Center.
Week 3 Homes of the Wee Folk for ages 8-12, afternoons 1-4 pm, July 16-20
Learning aspects of architecture and sculpture, students will imagine a tiny woodland creature and build a home based on its needs and likes. We will plan out the structure by sketching ideas, then use clay, sticks, stone, plants, and/or found objects to make it come to life. Students will include accessories and plants to create a piece of their creature’s world. If weather permits, we will use the garden for a fun photo shoot. Students will use their sketchbooks all week long to imagine what the structure could be and transform their ideas into reality. This class is also led by Wendy Clery. She is modeling this session on a workshop that she’s offered to children in the New Milford area.
Week 4 Transforming Paper Into Art for ages 5-8, mornings 9 am to noon, July 23-27
Joy Gaiser is a retired music and special education teacher and was honored to be chosen the Teacher of the Year in New Milford for the 2010-11 school year. She also was the president of the New Milford Historical Society for 7 years and ran the summer colonial crafts program at their one-room schoolhouse with a fellow teacher. She will teach the children to make paper from recycled paper, learn about color utilizing a variety of mediums such as crayons, markers, and watercolors and techniques such as mosaic resist. They will also do some creative paper folding activities and have a chance to embroider one of their own drawings or sew a catnip mouse if they prefer. Each child will be given a sketchbook to explore their own creative ideas.
Week 4 The Art of Paper: Creating, Using, Folding for ages 8-12, afternoons 1-4 pm, July 23-27
Joy Gaiser will also lead these students in paper making from recycled paper, petals, glitter, grass, etc. She will show the children how to turn this paper into greeting cards and thank you notes. Calligraphy will be introduced, and each child will receive a calligraphy pen. The class will make an agamograph with premade pictures or pictures that they created themselves which will require careful measuring, folding, and cutting. They will learn to draw some 3-D shapes and designs which will include a review of the color wheel and how to use it. A variety of mediums will be used throughout the week and ways to use each. Each child will design a simple stencil to use on a papier mache item they decorate, and each will be given a sketchbook to make notes and for their own ideas and sketches.
Week 5 Session Cancelled (due to low enrollment)
Guests Enjoy Seven Hearths Revealed Party
Over 40 people visited Seven Hearths April 21 for the Seven Hearths Revealed Party to help support our ongoing efforts to highlight the history of Kent. The cocktail party drew a supportive crowd, with a great mix of people who had visited previously along with some who'd never been inside our historic house museum.
Trustees Jeffrey Morgan and Roger Gonzales led a group of people through the museum on a tour, highlighting recent additions as well as the conservation work underway on the building.
We would also like to recognize the organizing committee for the party that was chaired by Trustees Deb Chabrian and Jeffrey Morgan. Others volunteered their time to make it a success, including Austi Brown and Trustees Lynn Worthington and Kent Freeman, as well as volunteers Adriana Martinez and Ed Martinez . Acting Director Patrice Galterio and Curator Marge Smith also spent considerable time planning and welcomed guests to the event.
KHS thanks the following for their help with the party: TEPOZ Tequila,
Kent Wine & Spirit.
One of the highlights of the evening was viewing the artwork offered through a silent auction to support the George Laurence Nelson Scholarship. Six artists contributed paintings and prints they created during a Paint Out on April 12-13 in George Laurence Nelson’s former studio in the Seven Hearths Museum. Proceeds from the auction will fund the scholarship that will aid college students studying art and art history.
We are especially grateful to those who supported this event and the Society with their generous contributions.
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Kissinger
Ms. Agnes Gund
Mrs. Anne Bass
Ms. Nina Henderson and Mr. Roger Branson
Mr. Jeffrey Morgan and Mr. Robert Couturier
Mr. and Mrs. Greg Randall
Mr. Guy Peterson
Mr. and Mrs. Ned Babbitt
Mr. and Mrs. Ely Britton
Ms. Austi Brown
Dr. Ben Cohen and Dr. Barbara Lukash
Mr. and Mrs. Anthony DiPentima
Mr. David Freeman and Adriana Martinez
Mr. Michael Hallows and Ms. Lynn Perry
Mr. and Mrs. Jim Hicks
Mr. Clinton Kelly
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Klein
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Lenz
Dr. Martin Levine and Dr. Israel Cruz
Mr. and Mrs. Dave Melton
Mr. and Mrs. John Noneman
Mr. Stephen Shapiro and Dr. Amy Attas
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Tobin
Mr. and Mrs. John Youngblood
Mr. Anthony Zunino
Seven Hearths Revealed Sponsors and Paint Out
The Kent Historical Society invites all to Seven Hearths Revealed, an evening celebrating our beloved 18th century home and museum, April 21, 2018. We are grateful to our Underwriters, Sponsors and Friends who’ve helped support this fundraiser.
Attendees will tour Seven Hearths, view George Laurence Nelson’s artwork and and enjoy wine, and hors d’oeuvres, as well as celebrate spring with fellow KHS supporters, history buffs and friends.
Deborah Chabrian, KHS Trustee and well-known watercolorist, is again organizing a “Paint Out” with a group of local artists to create beautiful artwork that will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to the George Laurence Nelson Scholarship Fund. This is the second year for the painting fundraiser, and Chabrian said that the artists all enjoyed the camaraderie of painting together in the historic Seven Hearths. Invited artists are creating paintings this year inspired by the interior rooms of the unique house museum. The resulting works of art will be offered in a silent auction during the party.
“We want to draw attention to GLN’s light-filled studio here at Seven Heaths, to bring life and art back into the house,” she said.
The party will provide an opportunity to discover more about the house’s rich legacy. Trustee Jeffrey Morgan continues to remove paint layers, particularly in the South Parlor, adding to the Society’s knowledge of what the interiors looked like through the years. The stairs (c. 1940), which previously gave access from the Fur Trading Post to the attic, have been removed to allow for better appreciation and understanding of this recently discovered historical gem. A new stair has been reconstructed in the original location from period materials and hand wrought nails. It is located at the top of the stairs from what was originally the general store and was later used by George Laurence Nelson as his painting studio. Several wonderful examples of Nelson’s interior watercolors will be on display throughout the house.
The fundraising party will provide needed operating funds for the Society. Attendees will have the opportunity to see the ongoing changes that have been happening at the 1751 house museum and celebrate the fascinating history of the building.
The Kent Historical Society is pleased to announce the appointment of Kent resident Patrice Galterio as its acting director.
Patrice joined the KHS staff in September 2017, replacing long-time assistant Lyn Stirnweiss, who resigned to devote more time to her job at the Kent Chamber of Commerce. Patrice took on her new role as acting director in March, taking over from Brian Thomas, who resigned from his role as executive director after serving for three and a half years.
Patrice was a founder and the creative director of the Kent Film Festival with her husband, Frank Galterio. She is a graphic designer and continues to do freelance work for clients part-time. She looks forward to helping guide the Historical Society in her new role.
May Sunday Series to focus on Kent’s Village life
The Kent Historical Society is hosting the third of our series, Our Town: The Village, A Look at “Urban” Life in Kent May 20 at 2 p.m. in Kent Town Hall.
During March, we had a lively, interactive discussion about the once thriving dairy industry in Kent. Many local farmers came to share their memories and swap poignant stories about farming with an intrigued audience, some of whom knew little about the subject. We hope for the same interaction with this next subject.
Do you remember life along Main Street in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s? It was a vibrant place, with a mixture of homes and businesses. Today, many of our unique Main Street businesses struggle for survival, and we want you all to come join in the conversation about The Village – share your own memories and talk about how to keep it healthy and happy. With your help, it will be as fun and exciting as the first two. Join Us!
Kent Town Hall, May 20th at 2:00pm