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Outhouse Tour

On Saturday, April 29, 2017 from 1 pm to 5pm the Haddam Historical Society will host a historic outhouse tour of seven area privies in Haddam and Higganum. The self-guided tour will start at the Thankful Arnold House Museum where the newly interpreted four-hole backhouse will be unveiled. The tour will highlight a variety of “necessaries” including some with a plaster interior, four-holes and even a basement.

Outhouses on the tour are found at the John Brainerd House, Levi Ward Tavern, Ezra Kelsey House, Merwin House, Sears-Usher House, Nathan Fuller House and Thankful Arnold House.

Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased the day of the tour at the Thankful Arnold House Museum, 14 Hayden Hill Road where visitors will pick up their maps and visit Thankful’s necessary.


Annual Meeting- Tobacco in Connecticut
May 18, 2017, Thursday
6:30 pm- Business Meeting, 7:00 pm- PROGRAM
Fire Station #1, 439 Saybrook Road, Higganum, CT

Brianna Dunlap, former director of the Connecticut Valley Tobacco Museum and author of Connecticut Valley Tobacco, will talk on how Cigar tobacco runs in the blood of Connecticut River Valley farmers. It is the story of the people—the farmers and field hands—who made tobacco the soul of the valley.

Camp Filley Walk with Rob Butterworth
Saturday, May 20 at 10 am
90 to 120 minutes
Meet at Beaver Meadow Commuter Parking Lot to carpool

Dress for on and off trail including supportive footwear, hat and long sleeves and pants. Tick repellant highly suggested. Following our January program on Camp Filley and Connecticut’s CCC program in the 1930’s, Rob Butterworth will guide a tour of the former camp now located in Cockaponsett State Forest. Rain date is May 21, same time.



Museum Recieves grant from The Community Foundation of Middlesex County

The Haddam Historical Society is pleased to announce that it has received a $1250 grant from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County. The Society will use the funds to support the design and publication of an informational brochure on herbs grown in the Thankful Arnold House’s historic kitchen garden. The brochure will provide visitors with a useful pamphlet that will educate about the importance of 19 th century kitchen garden, promote the benefits of gardening today and improve the visitor experience.

The Wilhelmina Arnold Barnhart Garden is an interpretive herb garden that displays plants that the widow Thankful Arnold would have used around 1830. The garden is a member of Connecticut’s Historic Gardens and the museum is listed on the Connecticut’s Women’s Heritage Trail.

The Community Foundation of Middlesex County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Middlesex County and to help Good People Do Great Things. Its two-fold mission is: (1) to work with charitably-minded individuals and organizations to build permanent endowments and other charitable funds; and (2) to support local nonprofit organizations through effective grant making, in order to address community needs, as well as Let Good Grow. Since its founding in 1997, the Community Foundation has provided 1,815 grants, totaling more than $5.4 million, to organizations for the arts, cultural and heritage programs, educational activities, environmental improvements, and for health and human services.

For more information on the Community Foundation of Middlesex County visit:

For more information on Connecticut’s Historic Gardens visit: https://www.

To learn more about the Thankful Arnold House and Wilhelmina Arnold Barnhart Garden visit:

CT’s Historic Gardens Announces Winner of 2017 Historic Gardens Day Poster Art Contest

Connecticut’s Historic Gardens, a group of 15 distinctive historic sites and gardens dotted throughout the state, is pleased to announce Connecticut artist Leif Nilsson of Chester, CT as the winner of the fourth annual Historic Gardens Day Poster Art Contest. This contest gives local artists a chance to showcase their talents while advertising CT Historic Gardens Day, an important, statewide event. The group began the contest to encourage Connecticut artists to visit and capture these historically significant homes with beautiful gardens. They hope that these sites will provide inspiring subjects for their art. Along with a cash prize, the winning artist receives widespread exposure – at the annual Connecticut Flower & Garden Show (February 23-26, 2016, booth 413), at each of the 15 Connecticut’s Historic Gardens sites throughout the year, and at Connecticut’s Historic Gardens Day itself, an event that attracts thousands of garden lovers throughout the state and beyond. This year’s Historic Gardens Day takes place on Sunday, June 25, 12-4 pm; visit for details on activities offered at each site. 

 Contest winner Leif Nilsson of Chester, CT, paints in an impressionistic style, en plein air to capture the beautiful surroundings of the Lower Connecticut River Valley where he calls home. Leif (pronounced Layf) studied art at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts in Old Lyme, CT from 1980 through 1986, and continued his education on several sojourns to Scandinavia, Asia Minor and Europe. His painting style reflects the influence of early 19 th and 20 th century painters Monet and Bonnard for their use of color; Pissarro and Vuillard for composition and Van Gogh for his energy. Leif has been a successful working artist for over 20 years. He exhibits his works at several galleries throughout the United States, as well as in his own studio in Chester, CT, Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery. You can see his works on his website or visit the artist’s studio at 1 Spring Street, Chester, CT, which is open weekends from noon to 6:00 pm.

The winning painting was inspired by the gardens at Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, and was painted there during the filming of the special production “Artists in the Garden, American Impressionism and the Garden Movement”.


















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