Grating the Nutmeg

The podcast of Connecticut history. A joint production of the State Historian and Connecticut Explored.
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Grating the Nutmeg




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Now displaying: 2017

A Joint Venture of the State Historian and Connecticut Explored - with support from the Sue B. Hart Foundation.

Jun 7, 2017

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center—one of our nation’s most important historic sites—has a fresh take on the house tour and a freshly renovated interior. Find out why you should visit this summer—plus a stroll through their historic garden and the award-winning plants you’ll find there.


We wish to thank Katherine Kane, Judith Lohman, Beth Burgess, and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. This episode was produced by Elizabeth Normen and Sarajane Cedrone.


Read more at where you'll find several stories on Stowe including "The Most Famous American," "Where Mr. Twain and Mrs. Stowe Built Their Dream Houses," "Lincoln and the Key to 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'," and "'Must Read Book' is 160 Years Old."

May 27, 2017

          Rules 10 through 20 of P. T.  Barnum's The Art of Money Getting or Golden Rules for Making Money are Barnum at his best: wise, funny, clear and wonderfully useful still today. Hear how America's first media mega-mogul and 2nd ever millionaire made his millions - the honest way.  Good advice and good history. Give a listen. 


May 12, 2017

     Ready to ride the road to riches?

     In part 2 of THE ART OF MONEY GETTING, you'll hear America's 2nd millionaire and first entertainment mega-mogul, P T Barnum, describe the first 10 rules for succeeding in business, and life. Written more than 150 years ago, the advice is as good today as int was back then. And it's written in Barnum's wise, witty, and of course, truly entertaining, style.

      Between each rule is an excerpt of Barnum-era music that was recorded on Edison cylinders, the first ever recorded music. Gathered from the digital cylinder audio archives at the University of California at Santa Barbara, they are a delightful comic foray into the world Barnum helped create. 


May 8, 2017

       This month, the "Greatest Show on Earth" folds its tent after a run of 146 years. To commemorate, we're honoring "The Greatest Showman on Earth", P T Barnum, with a look back at his life, and a full reading of his still so useful book, THE ART OF MONEY GETTING." His 20 rules for achieving success and attaining wealth are still as sound as when he first wrote them, back in 1858. And no wonder, because as Kathy Maher, Executive Director of the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport tells Barnum was not only America's first entertainment mega-mogul, he was the nation's second millionaire. Consider it a get rich quick theme in three parts, yours for free on Grating the Nutmeg. 

Apr 24, 2017

The Amistad Center for Art & Culture in Hartford, which documents the history and art of people of African descent in America, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Connecticut Explored’s Elizabeth Normen talks with executive director Frank Mitchell about the center's history and takes you on a tour of its special exhibition “30 for 30: Art, Agency, Legacy.” The episode features music by Connecticut-based Self Suffice, the RapOet.

 Watch for Frank’s story in the Fall 2017 issue of Connecticut Explored. Connecticut Explored, the magazine of Connecticut history, is available by subscription or single issue at

 Find Self Suffice’s music on iTunes and on Facebook.

We wish to thank Frank Mitchell and The Amistad Center for Art & Culture, and Self Suffice, the RapOet. This episode was produced by Elizabeth Normen and Patrick O’Sullivan.

Apr 4, 2017

With equal doses of wit and bravado, hear the stories of New Britain’s Stanley Works employees serving in France with World War I-era music recorded from the original records in the collection of Henry Arneth.

For more Connecticut in World War I: Listen to episode 24 for a dramatic reading of Cleveland Moffett’s 1915 fictional cautionary tale “The German invasion of Connecticut,” and episode 25 for the story of the Connecticut National Guard’s service on the Mexican border in 1916.


Read about Connecticut in World War I in the Spring 2017 issue of Connecticut Explored, the magazine of Connecticut history, available by subscription or single issue at


We wish to thank Karen Hudkins and Andrea Kulak from the New Britain Industrial Museum, Henry Arneth, and CCSU students Jacob Carey, Joe Guerrera, and Ryan Paolino. This episode was produced by Elizabeth Normen and Patrick O’Sullivan.

Mar 22, 2017

Central Connecticut State University history professor Leah Glaser retells the story of Sam Colt’s investment in the Sonora Exploring and Mining Company in the 1850s, a company that was incorporated in Cincinnati, Ohio to exploit silver mines in the new Arizona Territory. Colt never set foot in Arizona but that didn’t mean he didn’t pour energy, money, and firearms into the venture. Unfortunately, the Apache, the Civil War, and myriad other challenges intervened. Still, Colt left an indelible impression on the American West.

Recorded February 28, 2017 at the University of Hartford as part of the Presidents’ College and Connecticut Explored’s “Connecticans in the American West” lecture series. Produced by Elizabeth Normen and Patrick O’Sullivan.

Mar 8, 2017

What was it like when a young schoolteacher from Connecticut arrived to teach in a rough frontier school in 1850? Find out in this podcast by Eastern Connecticut State University English professor Allison Speicher. Speicher tells us about why the famous Catharine Beecher, sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe, was so driven to send New England school teachers to the west—and what those teachers found when they arrived.

This talk was recorded February 21, 2017 at the University of Hartford as part of the Presidents' College and Connecticut Explored’s “Connecticans in the American West” lecture series. The episode was produced by Elizabeth Normen and Patrick O’Sullivan.

Feb 24, 2017

Museum of Connecticut History curator Dave Corrigan tells the forgotten story of the Connecticut National Guard’s service on the Mexican border in 1916—the first test of these young soldiers in a hostile environment before they shipped out to France six months later.

Part of our Commemorating World War I coverage. Recorded February 14, 2017 at the University of Hartford, part of the three-part Presidents’ College Lecture Series “Connecticans in the American West,” organized in collaboration with Connecticut Explored’s Winter 2016-2017 issue on that theme. Produced by Elizabeth Normen and Patrick O'Sullivan.

Watch for the other two lectures in that series in future episodes of Grating the Nutmeg.

Feb 2, 2017

     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. 

See illustrations from the book, and a link to download the entire book in .pdf form, at the Connecticut State Historian's Facebook page or Connecticut



Jan 12, 2017
23. The Great American Road Trip with New Haven Museum

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 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.