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Hartford historical happenings: Calendar of events for April 2014

Patrick J. Mahoney

As the cold of winter begins to subside, giving way to the fragrant smells and lively sounds of spring in New England, the historical world is equally abuzz with a fresh calendar of informative and enjoyable events to be held around the Hartford area. The eclectic mix of events and exhibits available to the public this month range from a presentation on the art of mourning in the Victorian era to an exhibition showcasing the fashion of Katharine Hepburn’s illustrious career in film and theatre.

April 4: Tavern Night 2014
Want to step back in time and experience the atmosphere of a New England tavern in early America? Look no further than West Hartford’s historic Noah Webster House! In what will be the home’s last installment of the popular ‘Tavern Nights’ series for the season, visitors will be treated to what is described as an evening of ‘hearty tavern fare, drink, lively music, and traditional tavern games’. For more information or to book a reservation, visit

April 6: Dearly Departed – The Art of Victorian Mourning
In a public lecture sponsored by the Cedar Hill Cemetery Foundation & Connecticut Landmarks, Ms. Lisa Lewis will lead an informative discussion on 19th-century mourning customs. A particular focus will be placed upon the two-year period of mourning adhered to by women of the period. For more information or to book a reservation, visit,cntnt01,default,0&c...

April 11: Katherine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen
Beginning this month and running through September 14, the Connecticut Historical Society welcomes the only New England appearance of the limited-time traveling exhibition. As such, it will feature over 40 costumes from 21 different films and 6 stage productions. For more information visit

April 12: Behind-the-Scenes Tour: The Civil War 150 Years Later
In a rare opportunity for Civil War enthusiasts, the Connecticut Historical Society will offer tours of their vast collection of Civil War materials. Amongst the more notable pieces that will be on display is the flag that decorated President Lincoln’s box on his fateful night out at Ford’s theatre.
For more information, contact Jenny Steadman at or book tickets at

April 25: Webster’s War of the Words 2014
In a celebration honoring Noah Webster’s impact on American words and culture, the Noah Webster House will host its 5th annual gala event at West Hartford Town Hall. The evening will consist of live music, a wine and beer tasting, and an auction before the featured entertainment, a game show focusing on language and culture. For more information, or to book tickets, visit

April 27: Militia Day
For the first time, the Historical Society of Glastonbury will host a call to arms for the 5th Connecticut Regiment militia unit at the Welles-Shipman-Ward House in South Glastonbury. In addition to a demonstration of the specified 1764-style drill by the militiamen, a wide range of activities will be available to visitors, including an encampment, a flag demonstration featuring colonial-era flags, a period fashion show, and an 18th-century manners lesson. Additionally, tours of the site house, barns, and sheds will be available. For more information, visit

Ongoing exhibition: Love Letters and Uniforms: Wethersfield During the Civil War
As a part of Connecticut’s sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the Wethersfield Historical Society is featuring a special exhibit, focusing on the importance of humanizing the conflict through available primary sources, namely letters and battlefield communications to the home front. For more information, visit

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