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Opens May 10, '08
Preview Slideshow

Building Community in a Changing World
A New Permanent Exhibit Opening May 10, 2008

This dynamic interactive exhibit will provide new insight into Waterbury’s history, telling stories that are relevant to those who live here today, connecting the past to the present and laying a foundation for the future.

The Mattatuck Museum Arts and History Center will unveil its new permanent history exhibit, “Coming Home: Building Community in a Changing World,” to the public on May 9 and 10. The $2 million dollar exhibit, which replaces the Brass Roots exhibit, brings the history of the region into the 21st century.

“Globalization determined how the region started and how we prospered,” said Project Director Ann Smith, “and regionalization, which links the suburbs and the city, has always been part of our story as well.”

“Coming Home: Building Community in a Changing World” will take visitors through the region’s early days, from the Mattatuck settlement in Colonial times, to life in the Waterbury region today. The exhibit tells the story of all the people of Waterbury and its nine adjacent towns. Visitors to the museum will relive the experience of early settlers in activities such as “Build Your Own Village,” or realize the stress of making a button in 30 seconds in the Industrial era exhibits. An interactive exhibit about Fortune, a Waterbury slave, offers the history of the African American community from that unique perspective.

The exhibit design allows more products from the Museum’s collections to be viewed by the public than ever before. Every step of the way visitors are challenged to take risks, make informed decisions, and participate in activities that make them players in the region’s history.

The newest part of the exhibit, from 1960 to 2010, focuses on new immigrants to the region and the growing service economy. Learn how Webster Bank, Carmen Anthony’s, Opticare and other businesses in the region evolved from an industrial economy. Hear the stories of recent immigrants and how they are making their homes here. The exhibit ends with a Community Conversations Table, where visitors can take a stand on current issues facing the region today. They can run for election, building their platform on material in the exhibit and can win election based on the votes of other visitors. Photos of visitors instantly appear on the surface of table and become election posters.

This exhibit opens to the public on Corporate Donor and Member Family Day, Friday, May 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Employees of Corporate Capital Campaign Donors, members and member friends, teachers, and members of community organizations will be invited for preview tours.

The Grand Opening for the general public takes place Saturday, May 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. Participating will be elected officials of the city and state, and the Mattatuck Drum and Bugle Corps. Guided tours will be offered from 11:45 to 5 p.m.

The Mattatuck Museum Arts and History Center, is the only museum in the state dedicated to the art and history of Connecticut. “Coming Home: Building Community in a Changing World,” will tell the story of the region from the earliest farming days, through the rise of the brass industry, and up to the first decade of this century. The museum also features a permanent gallery of work by Connecticut artists from the early nineteenth century to the present time. A changing exhibit spotlights historical or artistic themes in the state.

There is convenient parking directly behind the museum and the YMCA on Park Place. The Mattatuck Museum Arts and History Center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Tuesday through Saturday, and 12 noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Click here to view a slideshow preview of this important and exciting new exhibit.

© The Mattatuck Historical Society, Waterbury CT