A December to Remember! Open Houses and $17,100 in Grants Awarded to Wallingford Historical Preservation Trust

On Dec. 4 and 5, the Franklin Johnson Mansion hosted The Magical Elf House in collaboration with event coordinator, Jill Dichello, of North Haven, and her team of volunteer elves. More than 300 children and adults attended the event. As participants entered, they received a silver bell, a nod to the American Silver Museum, now housed at the Franklin Johnson Mansion.

A dozen elves gave guided tours through seven rooms decked out for the holiday, including 15 Christmas trees, gingerbread houses, and countless decorations. Each of the rooms had a theme – a dining room with sweets (designed by Trustee Dee Nesti and volunteer Kim Gregoire), a playroom, a kitchen where Mrs. Claus was hard at work, and a bedroom where Santa was napping. When children got to the sewing room, they received a stocking with their name and age on it, filled with candy. Three sugarplum fairies danced for tour groups as they passed through the fairies’ parlor. Proceeds from ticket sales will be used to support WHPT's educational programming. Sponsors for the event included, Carbutti Realtors, the Record Journal, and Design House Interiors.

On Dec. 18, the Johnson Mansion hosted its Annual Victorian Open House. The program included entertainment from flautist Elaine Thoma, of The Neighborhood Music School, and her students. In addition, docent Joan Bushey read a rendition of ’Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore (1844).

WHPT receives $17,100 in Grant Funding from CT Humanities

The Wallingford Historic Preservation Trust ended 2021 on a high note! Connecticut Humanities, the statewide, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), has awarded WHPT a $10,000 CTH SHARP Capacity Grant to support our ongoing project “Enslaved Wallingford: The Missing Chapter of Our American Narrative.”

Jerry Farrell Jr., president of the Trust, notes “COVID-19 gave us an 18-month creative pause and opportunity to reinterpret our historic homes and give them a new context and relevance. At a time when the subject of teaching about racism has been a source of controversy and uncertainty, projects like “Enslaved Wallingford: The Missing Chapter of Our American Narrative” become an essential tool of knowledge. It’s an opportunity to provide the colonial history of a significant population of free and enslaved Black Americans in Meriden and Wallingford who were responsible for building the prosperity of our towns, a chapter that has heretofore remained unexplored in our written history."

Enslaved Wallingford will become a permanent exhibit at the Nehemiah Royce House this spring in conjunction with Wallingford’s 350 Jubilee celebration. You can view independent researcher and slavery scholar Chris Menapace's presentation to the Wallingford Public Library on our ongoing research here.

WHPT was one of 69 organizations in Connecticut that was awarded American Rescue Plan funding from CT Humanities. CTH SHARP Capacity Grants provide organizations funding for projects including building their information technology infrastructure, making their collections more accessible, conducting strategic planning, and undertaking inclusivity, diversity, equity, and access work.

In addition, the Trust received a $7,100 CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant from CTH, with funding provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) from the Connecticut State Legislature. This funding is meant to address the needs of museums as they recover from the impact of COVID-19. 

WHPT website offers virtual 3-D Tours

The WHPT website has a new look. Capture Visual Marketing in Avon, CT, has created 3-D Visual Tours of the Franklin Johnson Mansion and American Silver Museum and the Nehemiah Royce House.  Click on the tours from the comfort of your homes!

And finally, thank you for giving locally on #Giving Tuesday. Our Nov. 30, fundraising event raised $3,000 for the Trust. We are forever grateful to our donors, and look forward to a Happy and Healthy 2022 for all!

Photos courtesy of Winc Marketing.


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