Litchfield Historical Society Shines in the Spring Spotlight

Litchfield Historical Society LHS
Catherine Fields, center, with her award, and State Sen. Karen Reddington-Hughes, right, with the General Assembly proclamation. Photo source: LHS Facebook page.

Litchfield Historical Society (LHS) Executive Director Catherine Fields was honored with both a Connecticut General Assembly citation and an Award of Merit from the Connecticut League of History Organizations Tuesday evening at Central Connecticut State University.

The Awards of Merit recognize institutions and individuals who demonstrate the highest professional standards and who enhance and further the understanding of history in Connecticut.

Litchfield Historical Society LHS
Jessica Jenkins

Fields is retiring from the position after 35 years at the helm, and Jessica Jenkins will return to the LHS as Executive Director after previously working on special projects and then serving as Curator of Collections through 2015. Jenkins is currently the Vice President of Collections and Storytelling at Minnetrista Museum and Gardens in Muncie, Indiana.

The honors for Catherine Fields and the announcement that Jenkins is rejoining the LHS coincide with the buzz around the seasonal reopening of the Litchfield History Museum with a new exhibit, an opening cocktail party, a Family Day, a new opportunity to see the terrific Painting Litchfield exhibit, other special events, and the new season for the Tapping Reeve House and Litchfield Law School.

The new exhibit, To Come to a Land of Milk and Honey: Litchfield and the Connecticut Western Reserve, explores the Connecticut Western Reserve (now in present day Ohio) through the voices of those affected by westward migration.

Litchfield Historical Society LHSImagine taking Connecticut’s northern and southern borders and extending them west to the Pacific Ocean. This is what Connecticut would have looked like in 1662 under the colony’s royal charter (in theory, at least). After the Revolution, Connecticut gave most of these claimed lands over to the new American government, but it “reserved” land in the northeast of present-day Ohio for its continued use and settlement. This became the Connecticut Western Reserve, also known as “New Connecticut.”

The public is invited to the opening of the exhibit on Friday, April 21, at 6 p.m. at the Litchfield History Museum (7 South St.). Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Those planning to attend should RSVP by emailing at [email protected] or calling 860-567-4501.

To celebrate the opening of To Come to a Land of Milk and Honey, visitors of all ages are invited to a Family Day on Saturday, April 22, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., featuring guided gallery tours, surveying challenges, quill writing, and more hands-on crafts and activities. Tours of the exhibit will be offered at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Admission is free.

Those who want to dig deeper can attend a related program Sunday, April 30, at 3 p.m. or join in online. The Litchfield History Museum will welcome historian and author Dr. Timothy G. Anderson for a program entitled “Litchfield and the Connecticut Western Reserve: A Genealogical Geography.”

Anderson will use genealogical records to reconstruct regional migrations and explore the roles played by a number of families with ties to Litchfield in the settlement of Ohio’s Western Reserve, according to the LHS.

This lecture, in person or on Zoom, is free and open to the public. Register online here.

Litchfield Historical Society LHSWhen you visit the LHS this Spring, make sure to see the Painting Litchfield exhibit.

While Litchfield was never home to the kind of formal art colony found in other parts of Connecticut, the town has a rich and lasting connection with the visual arts. Painting Litchfield showcases paintings inspired by Litchfield scenes and landscapes from the 19th century to the present.

The exhibit chronicles one of the earliest artist groups exhibiting in Connecticut, explores the career of a painter who served in the Monuments Men, and showcases works by artists living in Litchfield today.

Painting Litchfield will be on display from April 21 to July 16, 2023

And starting April 21, the Litchfield History Museum and the Tapping Reeve House and Litchfield Law School—the first law school in the nation—will be open with new hours: Wed – Sun, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

If you go, make sure to explore the wonderful Tapping Reeve Meadow behind the law school.

The Litchfield History Museum is located at 7 South St. across from the Green in Litchfield center. The Tapping Reeve House and Litchfield Law School are a short walk away at 82 South St.

Visit for more information.