Fashion and Fantasy: 250 Years of Wedding Dresses
February 19-May 31, 2015
With beautiful wedding gowns spanning several centuries—from 18th-century silk and military-inspired Civil War dresses to the ubiquitous white dress of today—this exhibition looked at how fashions and the traditions of “the big day” have changed over time, comparing the relatively simple rituals of the past with the more elaborate wedding events of today.
Mobilizing the Home Front: Posters from World War II
January 16-May 10, 2015
In honor of the 70th anniversary of VE Day, this exhibition features World War II posters that were used to raise support for the war effort at home. Part of the federal government’s overall propaganda effort, the posters incorporated strong messages and striking visuals in order to enlist every American, soldier or civilian, to help win the war. Some of the country’s top artists and illustrators lent their talents to persuade Americans to increase their productivity in factories, buy war bonds, and enlarge their wartime responsibilities. Click here for an online version of this exhibition.
The Pequot War and the Founding of Fairfield, 1637-1639
October 15, 2014 – February 8, 2015
This exhibit presented the story of the Pequot War in 1637, which led to Fairfield becoming established as an English settlement in 1639. The Pequot War was New England’s first major conflict, involving thousands of combatants in dozens of battles in Rhode Island and Connecticut, with the final English victory won in a swamp here in Fairfield in 1637. The exhibition featured unique items including the sword of John Mason, leader of the English forces during the war; an original copy of John Underhill’s Newes from America containing a first-hand account of the war; and a helmet and matchlock gun from the period. A section on current archaeology undertaken by the Mashantucket Pequot Museum’s Battlefields of the Pequot War project explained how we are still gaining new insights into this epic conflict.
Accused: Fairfield’s Witchcraft Trials
September 25, 2014 – January 5, 2015
In 17th century New England, religious beliefs and folk tradition instilled deep fears of magic, evil, and supernatural powers. How else to explain unnatural events, misfortune and the sudden convulsions and fits of local townspeople? Through a series of graphic novel-style panels, artist Jakob Crane retells the dramatic story of the witchcraft cases that took place in the Fairfield area in the 1650s and 1690s, providing a creative retelling of these troubling events in the community’s early history. Learn how neighbors, magistrates, and colonial leaders treated accusations of witchcraft and why the outcome of Fairfield’s witchcraft trials in 1692 was so different from what happened in Salem at the same time. The panels are available to purchase in a booklet here, or at the museum shop.
Growing Up in Fairfield: Memories and Milestones
July 3-October 2, 2014
What was it like to grow up in Fairfield in past generations? How has childhood changed over time?This exhibition looked back at the experience of growing up from the 1940s through the 1980s, focusing on play, school, work, and special occasions. To provide more historical perspective, the exhibition also includes items from the 1800s, showing how nineteenth-century children’s lives compare to those we remember. Click here for an online version of this exhibition.
Fairfield’s Rockin’ Top Ten
January 25-April 8, 2014
Fairfield’s Rockin’ Top Ten celebrated the musical legacy of the Fairfield region, highlighting a diverse set of ten musicians including: Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson, The Remains, Leonard Bernstein, David Brubeck, Jose Feliciano, Chris Frantz & Tina Weymouth, Richard Rodgers, Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards, Keith Richards and Donna Summer. Items representing each musician – instruments, sheet music, awards, and stage outfits – were complemented by a video “juke box” to showcase each artist’s work.
Wonder Women of Fairfield
February 25-April 28, 2014
This exhibition highlighted eleven notable women from Fairfield who reached beyond the expectations of their times and contributed to the community and nation, in fields ranging from military service to business to community philanthropy. The featured women included Margaret Rudkin, founder of Pepperidge Farms; Mabel Osgood Wright, author and conservationist; the first women from Connecticut to join the WAC during World War II and to fly a helicopter; and Fairfield’s first female legislator, among others. Click here on for an online version of this exhibition.
Picturing Fairfield: The Photographs of Mabel Osgood Wright
This exhibit of conservationist and author Mabel Osgood Wright’s glass slides showcased her photographs of historical and pastoral Fairfield. At times nostalgic and sentimental, Wright’s photographs focus on Fairfield’s homes, gardens, people, and the local countryside and present Fairfield as a traditional New England town. Click here for an online version of this exhibition.
IMAGES at the Fairfield Museum
This annual juried photography exhibition provides an excellent opportunity for regional photographers to connect with prominent collectors, gallery owners, fellow photographers, and the public. Past IMAGES exhibits have featured prominent photographers with connections to the Fairfield region, including David LaChapelle, Philip Trager, Charles Ruger, Bill Eppridge and Jay Maisel.
The Promise of Freedom: The Emancipation Proclamation
September 23, 2012 – February 4, 2013
Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, this exhibition explored the quintessential ideals that have defined America. Key historical documents from private collectors included Lincoln’s signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, a signed Thirteenth Amendment, and historic broadsides and political cartoons that revealed Lincoln’s struggles with the issue of slavery and the Union. This was the only exhibition in New England that focused on this anniversary, placing the Emancipation Proclamation at the center of understanding American history from the Civil War to Civil Rights and today.
Bravo! A Century of Theatre in Fairfield County
September 25, 2011 – April 1, 2012
This exhibition celebrated the wealth of theatrical history that took place in our backyard from the late 19th century through the present day. Interactive stations offered a window into “behind the scenes” stage production and a colorful array of costumes, props, photographs and manuscripts from Westport Country Playhouse, White Barn Theatre and American Shakespeare Theatre combined to illustrate Fairfield County’s theatrical history. A rich slate of public programs offered even more opportunities to participate in activities, presentations and performances at the Museum and partnering institutions that provide the experience of live theatre while inspiring the artists and audiences of tomorrow.
Our Nation’s Generations: The New Beginnings Family
February 4 – March 6, 2011
This exhibition developed with New Beginnings Family Academy, a Bridgeport charter school, explored the larger theme of “Family” and 5th grade students’ reflections on “Who is a positive role model in my life?” The student’s large, vibrant “story quilt” modeled on the work of celebrated award-winning artist and author Faith Ringgold (b. 1930). Museum visitors also had a unique opportunity to see firsthand Faith Ringgold’s original artwork, including story quilts—Tar Beach 2 and Our Ancestors– and seventeen illustrations from Faith Ringgold’s children’s book Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in The Sky.
It’s a Hit! A Hometown View of our National Pastime
June 20, 2010 – April 3, 2011
Discover the legendary players and teams who played in Connecticut and the local heroes who achieved the American dream. Step onto the historic fields that attracted thousands of people to Bridgeport and hear the roar of fans in vintage radio broadcasts. Discover how the sport evolved through interactive displays of 19th century and modern baseball bats, gloves and balls.