The Museum Commons: New historic site opens in Fairfield
Connecticut has a new historic destination, one that has the potential to amuse and entertain adults and children who enjoy exploring the past and learning about the region’s role in early American history.
Opening this Saturday, June 10, is the Museum Commons — about 20 years in the making from drawing board to locating funding, the hiring of restoration specialists and recruitment of volunteers — featuring three recently restored historic buildings all situated on Fairfield’s 1639 town green. Admission will be free only on opening day, which will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“The Fairfield Museum & History Center has spearheaded the revitalization of the historic town green campus to create a dynamic regional destination that will connect history, art, culture and community,” said museum Executive Director Michael A. Jehle.
“Interactive and hands-on experiences for adults, children and families will interweave topics such as society, the environment, family life, politics and agriculture, linking them to the Fairfield Museum’s (long-term) exhibition, ‘Creating Community: Exploring 375 Years of Our Past.’ ”
Jehle pointed out in a recent chat that the $1 million-plus project required support from scores of individuals and public/private/nonprofit groups.
For the inaugural season, the restored buildings will be open Friday through Sunday only, through Sept. 3. Tickets may be purchased inside the museum, which is on the campus.
The three renovated buildings, all original to the property, are: Victorian Cottage and Barn (both built in 1888) and Sun Tavern (about 1780), with descriptions supplied by Jehle.
The Victorian Cottage is a children’s museum that will focus on hands-on projects and “what it means to be a good citizen.”
The Victorian Barn will explore the area’s “rich agricultural history and inform new generations about highly relevant themes about sustainability, food systems and food security.” The area’s major crops, including the famous Southport Globe onion, will be reviewed.
Sun Tavern’s interior will “re-create its past as an 18th century tavern” and gathering place, where visitors can sit at a tavern table, read a newspaper from 200 years ago and empty the mailbag. In the “Seeking Justice” room, guests can act out trials — from counterfeiting to trading secrets with the enemy — that took place at the nearby courthouse.
In the subsequent seasons, Jehle said he would like to see the Museum Commons “continually evolve” into a tourist destination, as well as an “outdoor venue for entertainment and the arts.”
WEEKLY ACTIVITIES: Storytime at the Cottage will take place Fridays at 11 a.m., as will Earth Heroes environmental activities on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. Sun Tavern guided tours will be available every Saturday at 1 p.m. and are included with museum admission.
email@example.com; Twitter: @PhyllisASBoros