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Westport Historical Society Presents, “Treasures Revealed” and “Inside Story”

Westport Historical Society is pleased to announce its new exhibitions, “Treasures Revealed” and “Inside Story”, which opened on Sunday, Jan. 27, and runs through April 27. Until now, the Westport Historical Society’s Archives and Collections—parts of which date to the 1700s— have been a mystery for most members and visitors. So has the “inside story” of the WHS’s landmark Bradley-Wheeler House–which began as a 1795 saltbox, but became a renovated Italiante in the 1800s–and its companion cobblestone barn. WHY? Due to security, preservation climate control requirements and crowded storage conditions, only a handful of staff and trained volunteers have access to the WHS’s underground Archive and Collection closets. Now, thanks to a special collaboration between the Exhibits, Oral History, Archives and Collections Committees, two new exhibits will end the mystery by turning a spotlight—and a video camera–onto these precious assets and artifacts.

“Treasures Revealed” summarizes the size and scope of Archival vault and Collections holdings and displays selected artifacts. Treasures also explains how these primary sources are used for Westport and Connecticut historical research, genealogical study, house history, fashion history, culinary and social history, art history, cartographic history, political history and even garden history. To share what cannot be exposed to sunlight, the Oral History Committee’s video tour of Wheeler House’s period rooms and “off limits” storage spaces, narrated by Archives and Collections volunteers, will provide unprecedented public access. As the Inside Story Exhibit in the Mollie Donovan Gallery affirms, the WHS’s best known treasures are Bradley-Wheeler House, which dates to 1795, and its rare octagonal cobblestone barn.

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Ryan Odinak