A multimedia exhibit with photographs, costumes, artifacts, and music explores the fascinating and tumultuous decade of the 1960s. Demolish or Preserve: The 1960s at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion.
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 explores 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 also honors the museum’s 50th Anniversary as it celebrates the bands of locals, led by the Junior League of Stamford-Norwalk, Inc. and the Common Interest Group, who fought to save the Mansion and secure its status as a National Historic Landmark in 1971.
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 Museum’s 2016 cultural and educational programs are made possible in part by generous funding from: