Henry Whitfield State Museum, Guilford

Events & Exhibits


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

May 22 - July 19 (Wednesday-Friday) 10:00-4:00 (weather permitting | no class on June 7 & 19, July 4)
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.

June 8 (Saturday) 10:00-4:00
Connecticut Open House Day
Free admission

June 16 (Sunday) 10:00-4:00
Trades Day | State Museum Sunday
All ages are invited to immerse themselves in a free program exploring the trade of woodworking with hand tools. TradesUp will offer hands-on activities for participants to gain experience in skills such as basic math, measuring, and hand-eye coordination while developing a sense of confidence and self-sufficiency. Prominent Connecticut woodworker Rick Liegl will also be demonstrating the timeless techniques he uses in carving his woodwork projects, sharing insights about his collection of antique hand tools, and answering your questions. Rain or shine. Support provided by CT Humanities.

June 21 (Friday) 6:00-8:00 pm

Make Music Day
Join the free celebration of music around the world on the summer solstice with an outdoor concert on the front lawn of the Whitfield House. Connecticut State Troubadour Kala Farnham is a multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter whose songwriting has been described as a reinvention of traditional folk with influences of pop, Broadway, and world music. Bring your own lawn chairs, blankets, and picnics – or enjoy some refreshments from The Greenery food truck and Sully’s Good Humor Truck. The concert will be canceled if it rains.

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

August 18 (Sunday) 12:00-4:00 (rain or shine)
Nature Stewards Field Day | State Museum Sunday
Discover ways you can be a better nature steward from people doing the work. Admission is free. Support provided by CT Humanities.

September 15 (Sunday) 12:00-4:00 (rain or shine)
WelcomeFest | State Museum Sunday

Free Event! UNITY interactive public art project – Multicultural Performances – 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. Support provided by CT Humanities.

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.

•          Multicultural performances: TBA

•          Community expo: Local and state organizations share their work that creates welcoming communities for the benefit of all residents.

•          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.

September 21 (Saturday) 12:00-4:00
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.

October 20 (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 6 (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.