2020 CLHO Award of Merit

Corset, c. 1865, Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum Collections

In 2020, The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum won a prestigious award from the Connecticut League of History Organizations (CLHO) for the exhibition titled, From Corsets to Suffrage: Victorian Women Trailblazers.

CLHO Executive Director Amrys Williams said, “As the first major exhibition in Connecticut to deal with the suffrage centennial, From Corsets to Suffrage set a great example, connecting a well-researched local story to an issue of national significance.  CLHO is pleased to recognize the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum with an Award of Merit for its work.”  

Marchers at suffrage parade with activist Jean Morton Cudahay, courtesy of Mrs. Wendell Livingston

The exhibition was conceptualized by executive Director Susan Gilgore and curated by Curatorial Consultant Kathleen Motes Bennewitz. The program highlighted the activities and contributions to women’s suffrage across the state and the country, and illustrated these local and national efforts by featuring rare artifacts from the museum’s collections and with private and public loans.

This exploration also featured women of national renown who were part of the Mansion’s history, such as Elsie Hill, a key figure in the suffrage movement both regionally and nationally, and author and Titanic survivor Helen Churchill Candee, an active participant in the Washington D.C. suffrage parade, to name a few.

“Votes for Women” buttons, courtesy of Jennifer Bangser

The exhibition was made possible with generous support from CT Humanities, LMMM Chairman of the Board Patsy Brescia and the Board of Trustees, The Estate of Mrs. Cynthia Clark Brown, The City of Norwalk and The Maurice Goodman Foundation. Photography was provided by Sarah Grote Photography.

Executive Director Susan Gilgore said, “I am truly honored that the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum has won such a coveted award, which highlights the vitality of our cherished institution and the tireless efforts of our supporters, board, volunteers, and staff in making the past educational, while highlighting this pivotal moment in American history.”

The exhibition was made possible with loans from the following collectors, museums and foundations: Bruce Museum, Fairfield Museum and History Center, Stamford Historical Society, Litchfield Historical Society, Norwalk History Room, Rose O’Neill Foundation, Springfield, MO, Bonniebrook Gallery, Museum and Homestead, Walnut Shade, MO, and the following private collections: Lisa Wilson Grant, Rowayton, CT, Wendell Livingston, Rowayton, CT, Rosemary Gillham, England, Bridget Thorne, Armonk, NY, Kenneth Florey, Madison, CT, Gil Rodriquez, Darien, CT and Susan K. Scott, Branson, MO.

About CLHO: The Connecticut League of History Organizations builds connections among those who preserve and share the stories and objects of our past. For over 50 years, CLHO has strengthened and sustained members by sharing knowledge and experience, and promoting best practices among museums, historical societies and all who steward Connecticut’s history.


2017 AASLH Leadership in History Award

Photograph Courtesy of Sarah Grote Photography.

In 2017, The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum won a prestigious national award given by the American Association of State and Local History (AASLH), for the exhibit, The Stairs Below: The Mansion’s Domestic Servants, 1868-1938. The project was aimed at launching a cultural dialogue on class, race, ethnicity, politics, labor relations, and social history during a half-century of ascendancy and through the lens of two households.

“The AASLH bestows Leadership in History Awards to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful to all Americans.”

The exhibition, The Stairs Below: The Mansion’s Domestic Servants 1868-1938, was a museum-wide exhibition and guided tour, with focus on documents, artifacts, images, costumes and uniforms— and the Mansion plan itself—displayed throughout the period rooms of the Museum.

Concurrently, the newly restored Servants’ Quarters opened to the public for the first time in the Museum’s history on October 10, 2015. While the museum-wide exhibition officially closed on October 30th, 2016, the Servants’ Quarters and exhibit installation remain permanently open and are part of the visitors’ experience.

Photograph Courtesy of Sarah Grote Photography.

The exhibition was made possible with support from the LMMM Chairman of the Board Patsy Brescia and the Board of Trustees, the City of Norwalk, the State of Connecticut and with major funding from the CT Humanities as well as sponsorships and grants from The Maurice Goodman Foundation, Klaffs, The Xerox Foundation and CTC&G. The exhibition, The Stairs Below was conceptualized by executive director Susan Gilgore, curated by Raechel Guest with the assistance of expert advisor Jennifer Pustz during its planning phase, and by Kathleen Motes Bennewitz during its implementation.

In 2017, AASLH was proud to confer forty-eight national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits, and publications. The winners represented the best in the field and provided leadership for the future of state and local history. Presentation of the awards were made at a special banquet during the 2017 AASLH Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, on Friday, September 8. The banquet was supported by a generous contribution from the History Channel.

Photograph courtesy of LMMM.

“I am truly honored that the Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum, for the first time in its history, has won such a coveted national award from our nation’s foremost proponent of American State and Local History,” said Executive Director Susan Gilgore. “This highly competitive Award of Merit serves as the ultimate recognition and validation of the tireless efforts of our Community, Supporters, Officers, Volunteers and Staff and once again proves the vitality and relevance of our cherished institution.” In citing the sponsors of the winning exhibit Gilgore said that “without the CT Humanities Council this exhibit and national acclaim would simply not exist.”