This spring, Americans will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the United States entry into World War I. This year and next, events around the state will explore and remember Connecticut's special role as the "Arsenal of the Nation" in the conflict once called "the war to end all wars."
To help whet your appetite for some of the surprising stories ahead, state historian Walt Woodward retells the little known tale of the World War I "German invasion of Connecticut" as recorded by war correspondent Cleveland Moffatt in 1915. It's home front story to end all home front stories, that was serialized in the pages of the national magazine McClure's in 1915, and released in book form as The Conquest of America in 1916.
KEEP TRACK OF ALL EVENTS NEAR YOU COMMEMORATING CONNECTICUT AND THE GREAT WAR AT THE CONNECTICUT IN WORLD WAR I WEBSITE.
A celebration of the adventure, fun, and excitement of a road trip along the byways and back roads of America. Featuring the stories of the diners, motels, gas stations, and roadside amusements that are featured in Road Trip!, the New Haven Museum’s exhibition on view through June 15, 2017.
Visit ctexplored.org/shack-attack/ for photos and more information on Connecticut’s roadside eateries, and listen to episode 10, “Poets & Patriots in Stonington,” for our visit to the Sea Swirl in Mystic.
This historic preservation story is supported in part by Connecticut Humanities.
The Smithsonian’s Eric Hintz reveals why he featured Hartford as one of six places of invention in a special exhibition at the National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. Find out how Samuel Colt, Elisha Root, and Mark Twain figure into the story and the ingredients he’s discovered that mark Connecticut as a standout place of invention in the late 19th century.
Visit ctexplored.org/listen for links to stories of invention, including episode 19’s interview with Connecticut Historical Society curator Ilene Frank about their exhibition, “Connecticut Innovates!,” on view through March 25, 2017.
Thank you to Eric Hintz and the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, and Jody Blankenship and the Connecticut Historical Society. This episode was produced by Elizabeth Normen and Patrick O’Sullivan.
Make a gift to support Grating the Nutmeg at ctexplored.org/friends and use coupon code “gratingthenutmeg” to designate your gift. Gifts will be shared between Connecticut Explored and the state historian for outreach.
Celebrate Christmas in Connecticut with two stories – from Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Mark Twain House. Featuring music from Duke Ellington's Suite from the Nutcracker Ballet performed by the New England Jazz Ensemble.
Visit ctexplored.org/listen for links to Connecticut Explored's photo essay on historic Connecticut-made and Connecticut-displayed Christmas decorations.
Make a gift to support Grating the Nutmeg at ctexplored.org/friends and use coupon code "gratingthenutmeg" to designate your gift. Gifts will be shared between Connecticut Explored and the state historian for outreach.
In this, the first of 2 special holiday episodes, we celebrate one of the best things about the holiday season - the stories people share with each other. We journey to Connecticut's Quiet Corner, where residents of the towns of Columbia and Lebanon met together on an evening in early November to share soup, dessert, and stories.
State Historian Walt Woodward emceed this events - held to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the Lebanon and Columbia Historical Societies. It was a magic evening that saw two communities come together as one family to share some of the most interesting and surprising stories you can imagine.
What do the Shroud of Turin,a beer drinking donkey, a walking catfish, Farmall tractors,the Blizzard of 1888, spooky houses, and the songs from the Wizard of Oz have to do with the little towns of Lebanon and Columbia? Listen and hear!
Thanks to Donna Baron, Justin Holbrook, Rick Kane, Andrea Stannard, Alicia Lamb, Marge Nicholls, Ed Tillman, Belle Robinson, and ALL the amazing story tellers who made this night so fun and memorable.
What does it take to be considered innovative? What is Connecticut's history of innovation? Find out with this interview with Connecticut Historical Society curator Ilene Frank and exhibit designer Jordan Klein about their new exhibition Connecticut Innovates! on view November 11, 2016 to March 25, 2017.
Visit ctexplored.org/listen for links to stories about Connecticut’s innovators: Sikorsky, Ensign-Bickford, Pepperidge Farm, Peter Paul, Bigelow Tea, Pratt & Whitney, Kaman, and more!
John Dempsey (1961-1971) was one of the most popular – and effective - governors Connecticut ever had.He was also the only immigrant governor of Connecticut since the colonial era, having been born in Cahir, Ireland in 1916. During his administration Connecticut - both state and government – was completely transformed, from one of the most tight-fisted American states to one of the most socially responsible. This – our first combined video AND audio Grating the Nutmeg podcast – describes Dempsey's remarkable achievements, and reveals how both his character and his policies were shaped by his boyhood in Cahir, Ireland.
TO WATCH THE VIDEO VERSION OF THIS PODCAST, CLICK THIS LINK:
Hear about Ruth Duncan’s shocking discovery of her great great grandfather’s connection to the notorious pirate William Gibbs and about who’s clamored to get into—and escape from—Old New-Gate Prison over the last 240 years. After six years of a stabilization project, the popular historic site is on the verge of reopening to the public with an open house on October 22, 2016.
In our 17th episode, Connecticut Explored's Elizabeth Normen and Jennifer LaRue explore stories from the the Fall 2016 issue on the theme of Crime and Punishment in Connecticut.
In "The Pirate's Pericardium," you'll hear how the membrane surrounding a notorious pirate's heart was made into a tobacco pouch and ultimately made its way onto the archives of the Greenwich Historical Society. Ruth Duncan and archivist Christopher Shields of the Greenwich Historical Society recount this fascinating story.
Next comes the tale one of the state's most popular tourist attractions--Old New-Gate Prison. Jack Shannahan, Sophie Huget, and state representative Tami Zawistowski tell this captivating story.
Photo: Ruth Duncan with the human pericardium/tobacco pouch, possibly of the notorious Gibbs the Pirate.
Some people say that young people these days just aren't that interested in history museums. Don't tell that to the Noah Webster House in West Hartford, which has found a way to attract hundreds of twenty-and-thirty-somethings to drink in history at the birthplace of the man who helped define early America. Hear all about it in “Drinking in History with Noah Webster." See pictures on the Connecticut State Historian Facebook page.
Was the oldest person executed under Connecticut's now-abolished capital punishment law given a fair trial? Where did an enterprising young man find the best law school in the early years of the new nation? (hint: it wasn't New Haven)
Find out about these and others stories about crime and punishment in Connecticut from the new Fall 2016 issue of Connecticut Explored, the magazine of Connecticut history.
Guests: Johnna Kaplan, author of "The Mysterious Case of Gershom Marx," and Cathy Fields, executive director of the Litchfield Historical Society: Hosts: Elizabeth Normen and Jennifer LaRue
What's the history of Bradley International Airport and why is it named for someone from Oklahoma? Is it time to change the name? On the 75th anniversary of Bradley Field (almost to the day) CT Explored's Elizabeth Normen talks with Jerry Roberts of the New England Air Museum about the past, present, and future of Connecticut's international airport and air museum.
Take an earwitness journey to the 1659 John Hollister homesite on the Connecticut River in ancient Wethersfield, and join the archaeologists, graduate students, and volunteers from many walks of life as they uncover one of the richest early colonial sites ever found in Connecticut.
State historian Walter Woodward brings you with him on the last day of the dig as for a first hand account of what they're finding at this amazing site, and what it means for understanding our early history. Hear from State archeologist Brian Jones, Lori Kissel, Scot Brady, Glenda Rose, Dick Hughes, Fiona Jones, Mandy Ranslow (president of FOSA - Friends of the Office of State Archaeology) and others about their epic archeological adventure.
You'll also find companion photographs of the site at the Connecticut State Historian's Facebook page (please like) and the Connecticut Explored website ctexplored.org (please subscribe to the magazine).
The Great Find!
A pair of 18th century portraits comes up for auction. Should the Connecticut Historical Society make a bid? This is a behind-the-scenes story in more ways than one! Host: Elizabeth Normen, CT Explored. Featuring Ilene Frank, Connecticut Historical Society
Pleasant Valley Drive-In
Did you go to the drive-in movies when you were a kid? You still can! Join Jennifer LaRue for another segment inspired by the "Small Towns, BIG Stories" theme of the Summer 2016 issue of Connecticut Explored.
Growing Up in Connecticut
Are you a millennial, Gen Xer, Baby Boomer, or member of the Silent Generation? Relive your childhood with the Connecticut Historical Society's special exhibition "Growing Up in Connecticut." (picture, left) Host: Elizabeth Normen, CT Explored. Featuring Ben Gammell, Connecticut Historical Society
Most people know the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum as the place where George Washington and French comte de Rochambeau planned the campaign that won the American victory in the Revolutionary War. This year, a new museum exhibit commemorates another important event, one that happened there 100 years ago in 1916. That's when the minister, photographer, antiques expert, and marketing entrepreneur Wallace Nutting made Webb-Deane-Stevens one of the very first historic house museums in America. Museum Executive Director Charles Lyle tells us the amazing story about an amazing man who was the Martha Stewart of his generation and more, in episode 11 of Grating the Nutmeg.
More stories from "Small Towns, Big Stories," the summer 2016 issue of Connecticut Explored .
Poetry and Patriots in Stonington
A visit to an unexpected listing on the National Register of Historic Places: poet James Merrill's fourth-floor walk-up pied-a-terre in Stonington. Special guest poet-in-residence Noah Warren reads from Merrill's work and reveals how this place inspired both his and Merrill's poetry. And Beth Moore of the Stonington Historical Society gives us a highlights tour of historic sites in Stonington.
Shack Attack: Summer Eats in Connecticut
Find out where to get great clams, hot dogs, and ice cream at Connecticut's most iconic roadside food shacks.
This year, Lyman Orchards in Middlefield celebrates its 275th anniversary. State historian Walt Woodward sat down with John Lyman III to talk about the history of the 12th oldest family business in America, which also happens to be one of New England's most popular agri-tourism destinations.
Then, listen to What's It All About – Summer Edition, a lively discussion with Bill Hosley and Betsy Fox about their favorite small towns with BIG stories from the summer issue of Connecticut Explored.
What if you could tour writer Mark Twain's house with the maid, getting the juicy inside story? Join Connecticut Explored editor Jennifer LaRue as she tags along on one of the Mark Twain House's new living history tours. Plus learn about the living history tour offered at the Windsor Historical Society. Then publisher Elizabeth Normen smells the lilacs in the Florence Griswold Museum's gardens and takes you through their current exhibition celebrating executive director Jeffrey Anderson's 40th anniversary.
In 1954, 32-year-old Al Marder was arrested in New Haven along with several others under the Smith Act for allegedly working to overthrow the US government. After a lengthy trial, during which he was defended by the celebrated civil rights lawyer Catherine Roraback, he was acquitted. Hear Al tell in his own words what he was fighting for and what it feels like when the full power of the state, federal, and local government is aimed at you. Recorded at New Haven Museum April 14, 2016
In 1954, 32-year-old Al MArder was arrested in New Haven along with several others under the Smith Act for allegedly working to overthrow the US government. After a lengthy trial, during which he was defended by the celebrated civil rights lawyer Catherine Roraback, he was acquitted. Hear Al tell in his own words what he was fighting for and what it feels like when the full power of the state, federal, and local government is aimed at you. This is the full length interview, recorded at the New Haven Museum on April 14, 2016.
Just in time for St. Paddy's Day, Jamie Eves of the Windham Textile and History Museum in Willimantic talks to State Historian Walt Woodward about their new exhibit "Irish Eyes: The Irish Experience in a Connecticut Mill Town.
Then, in "What's It All About?", the Connecticut Explored editorial team discusses the articles in the Spring 2016 issue focused on civic engagement including Mary Donohue on religious equality for Jews and Dave Corrigan on the income tax protest of 1991. And publisher Elizabeth Normen interviews Melanie Anderson Bourbeau, curator of Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, about the suffrage journey of Hill-Stead's architect and last resident Theodate Pope Riddle.
It's history worth listening to, and talking about – on Episode 6 of Grating the Nutmeg.
This podcast was inspired by Connecticut Captured: A 21st Century Look at an American Classic, on view at the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford through March 12. This exhibit, by acclaimed visual documentarian Carol M. Highsmith, is an effort to capture in images the character of Connecticut in the 21st century.
State Historian Walter Woodward worked with Carol Highsmith on this project, and when the exhibit opened, he and his musical group The Band of Steady Habits gave a musical lecturetitled "What Makes Connecticut Conecticut" Someone recorded the talk, and though the sound isn't perfect, we thought you might find this account of Connecticut's character worth a listen.
In our first segment, Jennifer LaRue takes you to the American Clock and Watch Museum in Bristol, where Executive Director Patti Philippon tells us about the Mickey Mouse watch that saved the Timex Company during the Great Depression, and so much more. The sound of the many different clocks ticking, ringing, and counting the time make this episode a feast for the ears.
In segment two, Sarajane Cedrone finds out why Noah Webster's dictionary was so revolutionary when she visits Jennifer DiCola Matos, Executive Director of the Noah Webster House Museum in West Hartford.
In Grating the Nutmeg Episode 3, State Historian Walt Woodward takes you on a whirlwind tour of the Fall 2015 Association for the Study of Connecticut History conference, whose focus was "Connecticut in World War I". In part one of a two-part program Woodward condenses talks on weapons and whaling, the wartime transformation of Bridgeport, and Connecticut's women physicians in the war doown to their essence. There's also a lunch time conversation with CCSU professor Matt Warshauer on a new experimental course he has developed on and for the post 911 generation. Sections are interspersedw ith World War I song as performed by historian musician Rick Spencer in one of highlight conference presentations.
In segment three Connecticut Explored Editor Jennifer LaRue reprises her Fall 2015 article on The Musical Club of Hartford, interviewing three club members on their experiences as Club members.
Listen in as the editorial team of Connecticut Explored discusses highlights of the Winter 2015-2016 issue - on Connecticut's iconic brands. Then go on a field trip with historian Rich Malley to hear Roger Eddy's Audubon bird call in action and visit the New Britain Industrial Museum to find out about hardware and appliances from long ago.
In this first podcast, publisher Elizabeth Normen, Editor Jennifer LaRue, and State Historian Walt Woodward explain what Grating the Nutmeg is About; how it got its spicy name; and what their vision for its development is.
Then, inspired by the Fall 2015 Connecticut Explored issue on the history of Connecticut philanthropy, Walt Woodward visits Lebanon's historic green to learn from Ed Tollman about that town's amazing life-long benefactor, Hugh Trumbull Adams.
Grating the Nutmeg is a co-production of the State Historian and Connecticut Explored, with support from the Sue B. Hart Foundation.