Creating Community: Exploring 375 Years of Our Past
The museum’s long-term exhibition invites visitors to explore the history of Fairfield and the region from the 1600s to the present. View original artifacts from the museum’s collection, explore a variety of hands-on activities, and discover the fascinating history of how people have built and rebuilt communities here over almost 400 years.
The exhibition is organized into six sections:
- Building Colonial and Native Communities: Crawl through a reproduction wigwam, learn about Fairfield’s founding, and use a magnetic map to learn how Native Americans and English colonists used the land. Explore what rules people lived by, and what things they left behind, including a Bible from 1608 and a stone mortar and pestle used to grind corn.
- Community at War: The American Revolution
Learn how people chose different sides during the Revolution and make your own choice to be a patriot or a loyalist. View a video excerpt about the British attack on Fairfield in 1779 and see original artifacts from the war, including a decorated powder horn and pieces of silver hidden during the attack. Climb up a reproduction fort, fire a cannon, and raise the flag.
- Seeking Opportunity in the 1800s
Choose the path you might take to earn a living in the 19th century: go to sea, become a farmer, start a business, or move west. Children can try on costumes while adults explore original artifacts, including pages from letters and diaries that illustrate what it was like to follow each of these paths.
- New Communities, 1880-1920
Contrast the lifestyles and elaborate homes of wealthy families with those of immigrant newcomers who brought their own cultures and traditions to the area. Learn about the industries and organizations that helped to shape the community, and explore pictures from a trolley window travelling between Bridgeport and Fairfield.
- Suburban Community, 1945-1960
Discover how the post-WWII boom helped make Fairfield growing community as families sought part of the suburban dream. Explore posters from World War II and artifacts relating to wartime factories, high school letter sweaters, and an early television set where you can watch excerpts from popular TV shows set or filmed in the area. Orient yourself on an oversize map of Fairfield that shows the impact of the highway on the community’s growth.
- The Community Today
Explore our wall of people who have contributed to the community in recent decades, and leave your suggestions about what objects might represent life in the 21st century.