New sign welcomes Seven Hearths visitors

New sign welcomes Seven Hearths visitors

Grants assist KHS with several projects

The Kent Historical Society recently installed a new sign in front of its Seven Hearths museum and several new lights with a $1,500 matching grant from the Connecticut Humanities (CTH).

To qualify for the grant, the historical society had to be part of a museum development program known as StEPs-CT, sponsored by CTH and the CT League of History Organizations (CLHO), and developed by the American Association for State and Local History. StEPs is an acronym for Standards and Excellence Program for history organizations.

The sign was designed to look similar to 18th century signage. Roger Gonzales, a Kent resident and member of the Board of Trustees, helped design and install the wooden sign atop a wooden post. It is like those that would have been common in the Flanders section of town, which was where the town of Kent began in the 1700s.

“We have received many compliments on our new sign,” said KHS Executive Director Marge Smith. “The museum will be much easier to find for visitors, with such an eye-catching sign.”

Two post lights were installed to help provide more light outside of the Seven Hearths museum to help guide visitors to parking areas. Three additional lights were added to the outside of the museum and the Art Barn, which is located in the rear.

Signs and lighting were two areas of improvement that were highlighted in the 2013 strategic plan completed by the Kent Historical Society. A $1,500 CTH grant was also awarded to KHS for that project as well, to fund a consultant. Nationally-recognized museum consultant Anne Ackerson, who has extensive experience in strategic planning and best practices development, was hired to lead a committee of board members in creating a dynamic strategic plan that is helping the society to move forward in the completion of many mission-driven initiatives.

The planning process involved input from KHS members and townspeople, as well as a great deal of internal examination by the KHS board and planning committee. A variety of strategic goals focus attention on restoring and preserving Seven Hearths, the society’s 1751 house museum; on increasing the community outreach programs and community collaboration; on developing more sophisticated use of technology and on making the KHS resources better available to the public. It is a road map for the society and its board, whose members have been working hard to make the Kent Historical Society a major player in the town of Kent.

Both of these grants are the most recent of 12 grants awarded to the Kent Historical Society by CTH. A total of $31,900 has been given since 2005 to support wide-ranging Kent Historical Society initiatives. The society would not be where it is today without the support of CTH.

Connecticut Humanities (CTH) is a non-profit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities that funds, creates and collaborates on hundreds of cultural programs across Connecticut each year. Connecticut Humanities brings together people of all ages and backgrounds to express, share and explore ideas in thoughtful and productive ways. From local discussion groups to major exhibitions on important historical events, CTH programs engage, enlighten and educate. Learn more by visiting

The Connecticut League of History Organizations (CLHO) builds connections among those who preserve and share the stories and objects of our past. The CLHO encourages and supports the activities of historical organizations throughout the state, promotes professional standards, serves as a network for the exchange of information, and advances historical interests at the state level. For more information, go to