At the Children's Museum of Southeastern Connecticut, kids can build skyscrapers out of giant foam blocks, experience flight with a small zipline, and learn about cultures on other continents in a global village. Apart from the sciences, the exhibits also focus on the arts and health, whereas two outdoor play places make it easy to burn off energy with a climbing wall and tree house. The 5,000-square-foot museum has everything children need to explore, leaving them only limited by the power of their imaginations.
Within a 308,000-square-foot complex run by the government of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation lies the keys to unlock 20,000 years of Native American history. Atop a 185-foot tower made from stone and glass, visitors drink in views of the region before heading back downstairs to visit the exhibits. Life-size, walk-through dioramas and live performances tell stories via interactive means, and two libraries keep archival materials that are perusable by children and adults. In addition to the permanent exhibits, special events take place throughout the year from harvest festivals to beading circles.
Inside a neo-Romanesque building on the Norwich Free Academy campus, Slater Memorial Museum traces local and world history with an extensive art collection. More than 150 plaster casts of classical and Renaissance sculpture tower above basketry, ceremonial masks, and leatherwork from African artisans, as well as artifacts from Mesopotamia and Persia. Saving space for those from North American shores, the museum also displays work from 19th-century Norwich artists, such as Denison Crocker and John Trumbull, plus pieces from 20th-century Connecticut artists, such as Ozias Dodge and Charlotte Fuller Eastman. The galleries host annual rotating exhibitions and events. Visitors courting their own muse can craft metal art and jewelry at adult art classes, and kid artistes sample a range of disciplines from printmaking and watercolors.
Something special happened in Connecticut during the early 20th century: artists began flocking to Miss Florence Griswold?s boardinghouse, creating an epicenter of American impressionism in the village of Old Lyme. Today, visitors to the Florence Griswold Museum can explore the same house and grounds, learning about Connecticut's crucial role in American art while dreaming up masterpieces of their own.
The Connecticut River spans 410 miles from the border of Canada to Long Island Sound. Inside the Connecticut River Museum, visitors can span that space through exhibits that tell the stories of the river and the people who have lived along it. Aerial photographs and a large mural depict the evolution of the river communities through time, and the On the Great River exhibit showcases the early history of the river through artifacts and works of art. A reproduction of David Bushnell?s Turtle allows visitors to get up close to the submarine, turn the propeller, and pump the ballast intake. A huge mural, cannonballs, and ship fragments recall the night in April 1814 when British forces traveled upriver and burned the privateer fleet in Essex. The river played a key role in the development of towns and cities in New England, providing everything as transportation routes to waterpower.
Along with long term and special exhibits, the museum offers educational programs for adults and children as well as seasonal boat cruises up the River. Cruises travel along the lower river valley, labeled one of America?s last great places by the Nature Conservancy.
For nearly 85 years, the South County Art Association has fostered the local arts community with exhibitions and classes guided by talented craftspeople. During a 2.5-hour bookmaking class, pupils choose from four different bookbinding styles taught by resident page-master Catherine Flores, making beautiful crane-shaped tomes in an origami day class or taking cues from the envelope-book course to fashion a pocketed book for holding secrets, treasures, or the key to your rock collection's safety-deposit box. An eight-fold accordion-book class leaves students with a handsome, folded mini album that functions like a traditionally bound book, and a non-adhesive book lesson teaches the delicate arts of bookmanship, including pamphlet stitching and the traditional Japanese side stab. Although class times vary, for those that take place from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., patrons are invited to bring along a beverage of their choosing, and enjoy in a warm and convivial atmosphere.