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History Live: At Home with the Howards (Free Open House Days)
Join us for a journey back to 1810 and a fascinating look at how fine Federal furniture was decorated. On Sunday, June 11, 2017, step into Windsor Historical Society’s national award-winning Strong-Howard House, the 1810 home of Captain Nathaniel Howard where yes, you really CAN touch everything.
You will be welcomed by the captain and his wife's cousins Anna and Samuel Bartlett who are helping to prepare for an upcoming family meal. A cozy fire will be crackling on the hearth as the smells of baking and hot mulled cider waft through the house.
In our main building, you’ll have the unusual opportunity to see Bob Van Dyke, the multi-talented director of the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, demonstrate how the delicate inlays and stringing seen on fine Federal furniture of the early 19th century are crafted. Visit with Bob, and ask him questions about woodworking techniques, his tools, and the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking based in Manchester, Connecticut.
Because the Howards’ home is furnished with reproductions of the items they would have used inside, everything is hands-on. Explore the family’s store where Captain Howard will regale you with stories (and may try to sell you some luxury goods). You may be invited to participate and assist in the activities of the household, including helping to prepare for a special family dinner as Captain Howard shows off plates and fine dinnerware. The Howards’ four-poster canopy bed is a marvel of comfort and warmth, and family members just might let you take a peek at treasures stored in the family high chest. Mrs. Bartlett will be delighted to share kitchen tips and recipes with you, while Samuel will do his best to lure you into a friendly game of cards or dice.
Enjoy the Strong-Howard House at your own pace, and feel free to ask lots of questions. The experience is different every time you visit and our three hosts are eager to welcome you into their world -- inviting you to "come as you can, stay as you will." End your visit with delicious home-baked shortbread cookies and cider.
To tempt you further to visit, here is what audiences said about their visits last year:
"The best I've ever seen!"
"I loved the hands-on."
"Kids enjoyed it."
"I have been in the house before but seeing it in use by those who lived there made all the difference."
The program is directed by Kandie Carle and funded by a Connecticut Humanities grant.
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