Spring is our favorite season at the Phelps-Hatheway House! We raise the heavy shades, dust the cobwebs from the corners, and open wide the doors to the Visitor’s Center to welcome the warm sun. The first buds arrive in the garden and the lilac bushes begin to flower. It is a special time of new beginnings.
On Saturday, May 6, the Phelps-Hatheway House and Garden opens for its 51st season. This year, we invite you to join us for two special events to celebrate the occasion. At 11 a.m., Bill Sullivan’s American Studies students from Suffield Academy will facilitate a Witness Stone Instillation program to honor the life and legacy of Lewis and Barbara Butler, who were enslaved on our property. Guided by Dennis Culliton of the Witness Stones Project, the students have uncovered information that will enhance our understanding of this challenging chapter of our house’s history. Immediately following the installation, guests are cordially invited to a reception in honor of the students in the Visitor’s Center.
Beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 6, a second celebration will begin as we fete artist Lynne Centore and her new exhibit Harmonizing Four. Lynne’s series of textile constructions that were created of “found fabric that is hand-painted, sewn, or machine stitched together” will hang in our Visitor’s Center through October. The artist will be on hand to share details of her process and to accept inquiries.
Throughout the afternoon, guests are encouraged to tour the museum which will depart from the Visitor’s Center at 1, 2, and 3 p.m. The staff will highlight our permanent collection as well as introduce visitors to pieces belonging to Emma Fuller which were recently donated by Caroline D’Otreppe. A stroll in the Hatheway garden to take in the beauty and fragrance of the lilacs is a must after your visit.
The cheerful yellow and white tents on the Hatheway lawn could only mean the return of the Suffield Garden Club’s May Market on Saturday, May 20! Now in its 45th year, the market offers a wide array of knowledgeable vendors and Suffield organizations who engage in meaningful work for our town. A special garden-themed tour of our museum interiors will be offered at 1, 2, and 3 p.m. on May 20, and a fun scavenger hunt will be available for our young and young-at-heart guests.
The Connecticut Landmarks website, ctlandmarks.org, offers information on our houses, programs, events, and links to purchase advance tickets. Regular admission for our sites is $12/adult, $10 seniors, $5 children 6-18, members and children under 6 are free. For those who wish to experience the richness of our six historic properties, a membership represents a great value. Memberships begin at $40 for the 2023-2024 season and offer free entry with added amenities at higher levels.
As spring arrives, we invite you to step back in time as well as to celebrate new beginnings at the Phelps-Hatheway House and Garden. Thank you for your continued support of our beloved property on South Main Street.