The New Milford Historical Society and Museum is a great way to explore our town

Permanent Exhibits

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"Black Life in the History of New Milford: A Perspective of 150 Years since the Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 - 2013"
This year marks the 150th Anniversary of crucial turning points in the American Civil War, including the battle of Gettysburg in July 1863; the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863; and the Gettysburg Address in November 1863. It is also the 50th Anniversary of events that defined the American Civil Rights Movement, including the March on Washington in August 1963 and Rev. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" Speech on August 28, 1963. In recognition of these historic events, the New Milford Historical Society & Museum (NMHSM) is now completing an exhibit entitled "Black Life in the History of New Milford: A Perspective of 150 Years since the Emancipation Proclamation."

The exhibit contains the pulpit, piano and bell from the Advent Christian Church of New Milford, founded by the Reverend Stephen Heacock and 22 black families of New Milford. The church building today houses New Milford's Theaterworks. Early photographs of the Heacock Family are prominently displayed. Also featured are maps and explanations of the Underground Railroad, which is known to have run through CT (and New Milford). We have also mounted copies of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address and a photo of the Rev. Martin Luther King giving his "I Have A Dream" speech with a transcript of this famous speech.

In addition, there is a montage of the emancipation papers granting freedom to the slaves in early New Milford. Connecticut was an early proponent of Emancipation due to the strong influence of the Abolitionist movement in the state and included gradual emancipation of all black residents of the state in 1784, resulting in all slaves in New Milford being freed by 1810 (a full 50 years before the Emancipation Proclamation). The 1810 census of New Milford lists 147 freed blacks as residents of the Town of New Milford.

The exhibit also contains montages of advertising by Black-owned businesses in New Milford at the turn of the century and articles celebrating the achievements of New Milford's Black citizens in bygone days. One prominent example is Robert J. Peagler, who served as a lieutenant in the Army in WWII. He was awarded medals for valor (the Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart) for his bravery in battle.

The New Milford Historical Society & Museum has both permanent and temporary exhibits on view at the Society, located just north of the historic and scenic New Milford Green at N° 6, Aspetuck Avenue.

Our hours are Tuesday - Friday from 12:00 - 3:00, Saturday 11-2, closed Sunday, and by appointment. (Click here to request yours, or call (860) 354-3069).
Winter is also the season of bad and unpredictable weather in New England. In case of inclement weather, please plan on calling the museum to confirm we are open. 
Our permanent collection, housed in the New Milford Room, features exhibits on the following subjects:

Business and Commerce in New Milford in the 20th Century

Black Life in the History of New Milford: A Perspective of 150 Years

The Life and Times of Roger Sherman

New Milford Pottery (also known as Wannopee Pottery Co.)

Tobacco Farming in New Milford

New Milford's Pre-Colonial Peoples

Our past exhibits, have included the following:

Lost Arts of Domestic Life

Art in Bloom

150 years of the Water Witch Hose Company N° 2

Our online exhibits include the following:

New Milford's Historic Schoolhouses

The Timeline of New Milford's History

Suggested admission is $5 for adults, $2 for students, and children under 5 are free, as are members.

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