Programs at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum

 

"The Stairs Below: The Mansion’s Domestic Servants, 1868-1938, Part II": Curated by Kathleen Motes Bennewitz

"Demolish or Preserve: The 1960s at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion": Curated by Kathleen Motes Bennewitz



"The Stairs Below: The Mansion’s Domestic Servants, 1868-1938, Part II"
Curated by Kathleen Motes Bennewitz
April 6 - October 30, 2016
Tours: Wednesday-Sunday 12, 1, 2, & 3 p.m. ~ Admission: $10 for Adults, $8 for Seniors, and $6 for 8-18

For the first time in the history of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, its Servants’ Quarters are open to the public and feature a new exhibition entitled, The Stairs Below: The Mansion’s Domestic Servants, 1868-1938, Part II. This exhibition opened to the public in October 2015 and will continue until October 30, 2016.

“During the Victorian era, the Mansion needed a small army to build it and run it,” said Patsy Brescia, LMMM Chairman of the Board. “We are thrilled to have an opportunity to bring the servants’ story to our communities with this highly educational exhibition.” 

Telling the story of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion’s workforce is overdue, yet timely. Discussions nationwide on issues such as immigration and social justice, as well as the popular TV series Downton Abbey, have audiences visiting this landmark often asking about its servants and their lodgings. 

The Mansion’s domestic servants’ rooms “equal the chambers of a first class hotel,” said The New York Sun in 1869. LeGrand Lockwood’s forward-thinking spirit behind these quarters offered momentary repose from the physical demands of a seven-day work week and 10-hour shifts for those living under the same roof as the family. By following the servants’ paths through the mansion, visitors will experience three distinct worlds—public, family, and service—and the social etiquette strictly enforced during the mansion’s seven decades as a private residence. “This exciting, new exhibition will create a very engaging experience for all of our visitors,” said LMMM Executive Director Susan Gilgore, “bringing history to life and ingeniously threading together this National Historic Landmark’s fascinating and multi-faceted past in a thought-provoking and powerful way.” 

Little was left behind to reconstruct the servants’ lives and work here. The Stairs Below, curated by Kathleen Motes Bennewitz, aims to make real the ‘invisible’ staff, especially the Irish immigrants and African-Americans, whose livelihoods depended on the fortune and tolerance of the elite. 

The Museum’s exhibition, The Stairs Below: The Mansion’s Domestic Servants 1868-1938, is made possible in part by generous funding from the CT Humanities and CTC&G. The Museum’s 2016 cultural and educational programs are made possible in part by generous funding from LMMM’s Founding Patrons: The Estate of Cynthia Clark Brown; The Museum’s Distinguished Benefactors: Klaff’s, Xerox Foundation and The Maurice Goodman Foundation. 

Connecticut Humanities (CTH) is a non-profit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities that funds, creates and collaborates on hundreds of cultural programs across Connecticut each year. We bring together people of all ages and backgrounds to express, share and explore ideas in thoughtful and productive ways. From local discussion groups to major exhibitions on important historical events, CTH programs engage, enlighten and educate. Learn more by visiting www.cthumanities.org

The installation of the ADA Elevator and restoration of the Servants’ Quarters were generously funded by the LMMM Board of Trustees, the City of Norwalk, the Norwalk Historical Commission, and the State Historic Preservation Office of the Department of Economic and Community Development. The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is a National Historic Landmark.  For more information on schedules and programs please visit www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com, e-mail info@lockwoodmathewsmansion.com, or call 203-838-9799.


"Demolish or Preserve: The 1960s at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion"
Curated by Kathleen Motes Bennewitz
May 4-November 20, 2016
Tours: Wednesday-Sunday 12, 1, 2, & 3 p.m. ~ Admission: $10 for Adults, $8 for Seniors, and $6 for 8-18

A new multimedia exhibit with photographs, costumes, artifacts, and music will explore the fascinating and tumultuous decade of the 1960s. Demolish or Preserve: The 1960s at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion, curated by Kathleen Motes Bennewitz will open on May 4, 2016 and run through Nov. 20, 2016. 

It is impossible to remember the 1960s without thinking of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landing on the moon, the Beatles arriving in the United States, the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War and—most hauntingly—the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Against this backdrop of turbulent cultural change and social unrest, was the nation’s modern urban planning, which included the demolition of historic neighborhoods and irreplaceable buildings. 

This exhibition will explore the fascinating and ground-breaking decade of the 1960s and the Mansion’s connections to the revolutionary preservation battles and new landmark statutes of the era. It will also honor the museum’s 50th Anniversary as it celebrates the bands of locals, led by the Junior League of Norwalk and Stamford and the Common Interest Group, who fought to save the Mansion and secure its status as a National Historic Landmark in 1971. 

“I am truly thankful to all of those individuals who took on the challenge of saving the Mansion from demolition,” said Chairman of the Board Pasty Brescia. “We would not be able to celebrate the museum’s 50th Anniversary, if it weren’t for their exceptional foresight and brave stance on preserving this architectural treasure.” 

With Europe's ongoing legacy of artistic and historic preservation and reuse as a model, in the 1960s concerned citizens brought national attention to the need for saving from demolition historically and architecturally significant structures in America. Jackie Kennedy, using her stature and influence, restored the White House's historic interiors; and just as the grand mansions of Fifth Avenue and Newport were slated for demolition, here in Norwalk LeGrand Lockwood’s Civil War era palatial residence was faced with a similar fate. Recognizing that the demolition of this structure would be a great loss to the city, state, and nation, concerned citizens galvanized to save the mansion in one the most important and hard fought preservation battles in Connecticut’s history.

“The 1960s is one of the most unforgettable, inspiring, and reexamined decades in modern history,” said Executive Director Susan Gilgore.  “I am looking forward to engaging our communities with this exciting, new exhibition and renew visitors’ interest in the history and preservation of this National Historic Landmark.”

The Museum’s 2016 cultural and educational programs are made possible in part by generous funding from LMMM’s Founding Patrons: The Estate of Mrs. Cynthia Clark Brown, and the Museum’s Distinguished Benefactors: Klaffs, The Xerox Foundation, and The Maurice Goodman Foundation. All visuals courtesy of Sarah Grote Photography.

General Admission: Wed-Sun, 12-4 p.m., $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $6, 8-18. The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is a National Historic Landmark.  For more information on schedules and programs please visit www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com, e-mail info@lockwoodmathewsmansion.com, or call 203-838-9799.


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