Henry Whitfield State Museum, Guilford

Events & Exhibits


New exhibit – History Beneath Our Feet
Southern Connecticut State University's Department of Anthropology presents an exhibit of recent archaeology finds on the museum grounds by their Archaeology Field School. These objects broaden our understanding of and bring attention to the site’s 5,000+ years of Native American presence and the people who called the Whitfield House home after the Whitfield family sold it. Visitors can try digging for “artifacts” and search for exhibit mascot Trowely throughout the galleries. Included with museum admission. Support provided by CT Humanities.

May 21 (Sunday) 10:00-4:00
State Museum Sunday
Free admission to the four State Museums for Connecticut residents

June 10 (Saturday) 10:00-4:00
Connecticut Open House Day
Free admission

June 18 (Sunday)
Music at the Museum
(1-3 pm) & State Museum Sunday (10:00-4:00)
Celebrate Father’s Day at Connecticut's oldest house! This free outdoor concert on the front lawn of the Whitfield House features the Shoreline Jazz Quartet. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, and picnics, and leave room for ice cream – Sully’s Good Humor truck will be here. It's also State Museum Sunday, so the Whitfield House is open for free 10:00-4:00. The Shoreline Jazz Quartet performs an eclectic mix of jazz all around the Connecticut shoreline. Their repertoire ranges from early New Orleans-style jazz through blues, swing, bebop, modern jazz, and jazz renditions of popular music. SJQ has recorded three records that focus on explorations of the music of a particular jazz artist, such as Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, and Pat Metheny. At Music at the Museum, SJQ will feature Rich Meyer on vibraphone, Steve Wood on guitar, Steve Roane on bass, and Mike Bimonte on drums. The concert will be cancelled if it rains, but the museum will stay open. Support provided by CT Humanities.

July (Wednesday-Friday) 10:00-4:00 (weather permitting)
Archaeology Dig
Watch Dr. Bill Farley and his students from Southern Connecticut State University's Department of Anthropology as they dig on the museum grounds. No admission required.

July 16 (Sunday) 10:00-4:00
State Museum Sunday
Free admission to the four State Museums for Connecticut residents

August 5 (Saturday) 12:00-4:00 (rain or shine)
Nature Stewards Field Day
Discover ways you can be a better nature steward from people doing the work. Learn about bee conservation with Necker’s Farm and purchase their delicious local honey. Find out about native plants and creating pollinator pathways with Quercus Works Gardens and see some monarch butterflies. Hear about the traditions, history, and culture of the Mohegan Tribe at 1:00 pm. And see a live birds of prey presentation by A Place Called Hope at 3:00 pm. The program is free, but tickets are required to tour the Whitfield House and Visitor Center exhibit galleries. Support provided by CT Humanities.

August 20 (Sunday) 10:00-4:00
State Museum Sunday
Free admission to the four State Museums for Connecticut residents

September 9 (Saturday) 12:00-4:00 (rain or shine)Multi-colored letters spelling WelcomeFest and 3 photos: close-up view of Sara deBeer storytelling, people stringing bright pink yarn, and Mark Zarrillo drumming
FREE EVENT! UNITY interactive public art project – Storytelling – Drumming – Community Expo – Kindness Rocks – Food & Supplies Drive – Tours

In celebration of Welcoming Week, you’re invited to this free event to help build a nation of neighbors! Welcoming Week is an annual international campaign and celebration showcasing the work of communities striving to be more welcoming places for all, including immigrants and refugees. The Whitfield House was built in 1639 as the home of Guilford’s first minister as well as a fort for the new settlement of about 350 Puritans fleeing religious persecution in England. While Puritans were religious refugees, they were often not welcoming to those with differing views or those they thought of as inferior. Here at the museum, we’re committed to Welcoming Week’s goal of building a nation of neighbors. WelcomeFest is a free event open to everyone where we learn about cultures different from our own, celebrate our similarities and differences, and foster mutual understanding and deeper belonging for all.

WelcomeFest includes:

•          UNITY interactive public art project: UNITY is a circular arrangement of 32 poles and each pole is labeled with an identifier (for example: “I am a parent,” “I have Asian ancestors,” or “I identify as LGBTQ”). With yarn, participants tie to each pole with which they identify. A canopy of interconnectedness forms as more people participate. In the end, this project celebrates the uniqueness of individuals while at the same time illustrating how we are all connected by something. UNITY will stay on the museum’s front lawn throughout Welcoming Week, September 9-17.

•          Storytelling by Sara deBeer at 1 pm: “Tales of Deep-Rooted Magic” features stories from cultures around the world, tales of the magic which waits for those who venture into the woods, into the wilds, into the deep, dark forest. Sara’s lively storytelling is suitable for listeners of all ages and includes audience participation to keep the youngest listeners involved.

•          Drumming with Mark Zarrillo at 2 pm: Participants are encouraged to join the rhythm while Mark shares his rich knowledge of West African music and culture to create community.

•          Community expo: Local and state organizations share their work that creates welcoming communities for the benefit of all residents. Expo participants include Integrated Refugee and Immigration Services, Connecticut Freedom Trail, Connecticut Minority & Women’s History, Ethnic Heritage Center, Witness Stones Project, Dudley Farm Museum, Hyland House Museum, Guilford Social Services, and Guilford Human Rights Commission.

•          Kindness rocks: Participants paint kindness rocks to keep, share with someone who needs some inspiration, or leave somewhere to brighten the finder’s day. All supplies are provided.

•          Food & supplies drive: Visitors are encouraged to bring donations of non-perishable food and supplies to benefit the Guilford Food Bank. For the most up-to-date list of the Food Bank’s current needs, visit www.guilfordfoodbank.org.

•          Free tours: The museum’s Whitfield House, Visitor Center, and Education Building are open for self-guided tours.

WelcomeFest takes place rain or shine. Support for WelcomeFest has been provided to the Henry Whitfield State Museum through a Connecticut Cultural Fund Operating Support grant from Connecticut Humanities, with funding provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts from the Connecticut State Legislature.

September 16 (Saturday) 10:00-4:00
Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day
Free admission for anyone presenting a Museum Day ticket. Visit their website to reserve your ticket. NOTE: Please use alternate routes to the museum before noon because Whitfield Street will be closed to vehicles due to the Guilford Fair parade.

September 17 (Sunday) 10:00-4:00
State Museum Sunday
Free admission to the four State Museums for Connecticut residents

October 14 (Saturday) 10:00-4:00
Connecticut Archaeology Fair
Come celebrate Archaeology Awareness Month with the Connecticut archaeology community! This family-friendly event will include games, exhibits, and other activities on the grounds of Connecticut’s oldest house. Local professional archaeologists will be giving talks throughout the day about archaeology in our state. In addition, the Whitfield House will be open for tours along with the new exhibit in the Visitor Center History Beneath Our Feet: Expanding Narratives with Archaeology curated by the SCSU Department of Anthropology. This event is free and open to the public, and is presented by the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office, Connecticut Office of State Archaeology, and Preservation Connecticut.

October 15 (Sunday) 10:00-4:00
State Museum Sunday
Free admission to three of the State Museums for Connecticut residents
NOTE: Old New-Gate Prison & Copper Mine isn’t part of State Museum Sunday this month because they’re presenting “Light Into the Darkness” – don’t miss this opportunity to tour the underground mine lit up with 300 jack-o’-lanterns all month long.

December 1 (Friday) 4:00-8:00 pm
Firelight Festival
Gather outside Connecticut's oldest house to experience the festive atmosphere created by the glow of luminaria, lanterns, and three outdoor fires. Enjoy roasted marshmallows, popcorn, hot cocoa, and mulled cider, and listen to readings of The Night Before Christmas. This night is also the only chance to tour the Whitfield House after dark. Learn to craft a punched "tin" (paper) lantern to take home, tour the archaeology exhibit History Beneath Our Feet, and do some holiday shopping in the museum gift shop. In the spirit of giving, bring donations for the Guilford Food Bank and new, unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots.

Firelight Festival tickets may be purchased on-site the night of the event. Tickets include admission to the outdoor fire area, craft area, Whitfield House, and Visitor Center galleries: Adults (18-64) - $10, Seniors (65 & older) & Veterans - $8, Youth (6-17) - $5, Children (5 & younger) & Active-duty military personnel & up to 5 family members - Free. Reservations are not required and parking is free. There is no rain or snow date. Support provided by CT Humanities.