Oh how I loved this museum! I love that it was a beloved home and through a trust, was left untouched as a museum. Nothing can be loaned out or brought in. It is exactly how the family left it with the exception of necessary repairs and upkeep. This museum reminded me of The Florence Griswold Museum, trip #3. This home is filled with exceptional art including pieces by Monet, Manet, Degas and pottery dating back to times before Christ.
The Hill-Stead is a colonial revival home modeled after Mt. Vernon and designed by Theodate Pope Riddle, the daughter of Alfred and Ada Pope. Theodate was a non-traditional woman living in very traditional times. She attended prestigious private schools, yet refused to participate in society. She declined marriage to focus on her architecture career. She married in her 40s but chose not to have children and instead took in foster children. She designed schools and curriculum. She was quite a remarkable woman.
Author Henry James was a family friend. He visited often and dined in the impressive dining room. As we were touring, I pointed out to the kids that my literature class would include a Henry James piece, Daisy Miller. Daisy Miller is a young woman, much like Theodate in that she was raised in a prominent family and traveled extensively. However, unlike Theodate, she chose a very different path in society. How cool is that? If you read back through this blog, year after year, things like this happen, where life and learning overlap and I am reminded that our learning is so deep.
If you are ever traveling through Farmington, Connecticut, I would go out of my way to make this a stop. It was wonderful.