University of Connecticut

Events Calendar

Exploring Connecticut’s Towns – Middletown

Saturday, August 25, 2018
10:00am – 11:30am

MIddletown, CT

The Connecticut State Museum of Natural History and Connecticut Archaeology Center at UConn presents “Exploring Connecticut’s Towns”, a series that will look at natural and cultural history from a local perspective. The next town to be explored is the MIddletown, CT on Saturday, August 25, 10 am to 11:30 pm.

The natural and cultural history of Connecticut, in each of its 169 towns, has a unique story to tell. From the indigenous peoples arriving after the glaciers receded and the European explorers and settlers establishing colonies in the “New World,” to the innovators of the industrial revolution leading to the present day, Connecticut is steeped in history. Join us as we explore Connecticut’s towns and learn about the people and places that have shaped and continue to shape the Constitution State.

Located along the Connecticut River, Middletown was initially incorporated under its Native American name Mattabeseck in 1650, before receiving its present name in 1653. Originally a busy sailing port and then industrial center, today Middletown is residential city with a thriving downtown area filled with unique restaurants and shops.

Program participants will first tour the exhibit “A Vanished Port: Middletown & the Caribbean, 1750-1824” at the Middlesex County Historical Society. It is a portrait of early Middletown, which was an important New England port during the heyday of the West Indies trade. The exhibit depicts the luxurious life of merchants and sea captains as evidenced by the Society’s furniture and decorative arts collections, but also shows that Middletown’s prosperity rested on the suffering of enslaved workers in the sugar monoculture of the English Caribbean.

Following the tour of the exhibit, the group will walk along Main Street to the South Green and other points of interest where guide Deborah Shapiro, the executive director of the Historical Society, will talk about other aspects of Middletown’s history including its participation in the Civil War and emergence as a manufacturing center in the industrial revolution. Middletown was also active in the Abolitionist Movement and the home of Benjamin Douglas, a conductor on the Underground Railroad, will be pointed out.

The program fee is $15. Advance registration is required. This program is for adults and children ages 8 and above. Children must be accompanied by an adult. For further information visit or call 860.486.4460.


Connecticut State Museum of Natural History (primary), Office of Public Engagement, UConn Master Calendar

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