Museum Makeover grant funds more diverse view of Trumbull history

Photo of Amanda Cuda

TRUMBULL — There’s a lot about Trumbull’s history that people don’t know. Nancy Fisher, president of the Trumbull Historical Society, said it’s important to correct that.

“There’s definitely untold stories and stories that haven’t really been publicized much,” Fisher said. “People don’t realize that we had slaves in Trumbull or even the northeast. I think it’s important to get that local history out there.”

She’s hoping that a new Museum Makeover grant from Conservation ConneCTion (a program of the Connecticut State Library) can help to correct that. Earlier this month, Conservation ConneCTion had announced that 15 museums in the state had received the grant, “designed to improve the visitor experience at cultural heritage organizations throughout Connecticut,” according to the grant’s web page.

Officials with the Trumbull Historical Society plan to use their grant to, among other things, update its exhibits to include more stories of indigenous and enslaved people.

Fisher said the Trumbull Historical Society museum at 1856 Huntington Turnpike already includes material on the Golden Hill Paugussett tribe, which is a key part of Trumbull history, and material on Nero Hawley, a slave who served with in George Washington’s Continental Army before becoming a prominent businessman and landowner.

“We do have a small exhibit on him, but feel we can do a lot more,” Fisher said.

As part of the Museum Makeover grant, the historical society will receive $3,000 toward upgrading its exhibits, and will receive visits from curators from other museums in the state, who will consult on the process. The upgrades are supposed to be completed by October, Fisher said.

Other museums in the state to receive the Museum Makeover grant include the Danbury Railway Museum, which plans to use it to curate outdoor exhibits and develop signage for the rail yard and the Wilton Historical Society, which plans to use it to redesign collection storage areas to make better use of available space.

Fisher said the grant will enable the museum to expand its offerings, making it more accessible and interesting to visitors.

“We’re very excited about this,” she said. “I’m looking forward to revamping our whole main room.”