14. Hurlbut-Dunham House Museum

I’d Hurl, But it Would Mess up the Decor
Wethersfield
(Google Maps Location)
May 27, 2007

mq15b.jpgThe house museum is part of the historic Wethersfield package “tour.” By paying the 8 bucks at the Wethersfield History Museum, we were able to check this place next door out “for free.” (Or for 3 bucks instead of 5. Or something.) We entered the stately mansion and were immediately greeted by a lovely elderly lady who cracked a few good jokes to get the ball rolling. (When punching our ticket, she offered to give us each a punch and it was all very cute.)

The museum portion is only the lower level, but it’s quite stunning actually. The house was built as a Georgian but was sort of converted to the Victorian style. What does that mean? I have no idea, but when I noted that the dining room ceiling was about 18 feet high, that’s what I was told.

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I have no idea why I look so shady in this picture… Like I’m going to eat 200 year old cake.

But thankfully, the house hands out a very informative brochure, from which I shall steal the next few sentences of this report. “This elegant brick Georgian was featured in Colonial Homes Magazine’s April 1996 issue. The home is rich in early 20th century features including orginal Rococo Revival wallpapers, painted ceilings, and cornices, and furnishings and accessories of Howard and Jane Dunham, prominent Wethersfield and Hartford area couple.”

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EdHill, 19th century ice-cream servant-woman

Gosh, there’s so much more… “Sea captain John Hurlbut lived here from 1804-08… Later owners added some Italianate stuff… then, after a marriage and a few years Howard Dunham married Jane Something and they lived here from 1907-1935… they were really rich…

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Me, early 20th century cook

The brochure goes on and on about each room we visited and while interesting while you’re experiencing the home, it’s not-so-much on CTMQ. The “scullery” was cool, with old first generation GE Appliances like a 1931 “Monitor-top” refigerator and a Universal washer-wringer.

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Me, early 20th century washer-woman

Moving onward to the front to parlors, the rooms were set up as if a party were about to happen – which was someting the Dunhams did a lot. In fact, they hosted the town’s 300th Anniversary celebration! Their furniture and decorations survive today and are all quite impressive.

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Shepard Smith, early 21st century Fox News blowhard and 19th century dairy farmer

Add the Hurlbut-Dunham House to the list of “No Picture Museums” as the kindly lady kindly told me at the end of the tour. I smiled at her and told her I wouldn’t sell them and my pictures suck anyway, so she allowed me to keep my camera. So thanks to you, Carol (I think) for leading a great little tour and for allowing me and the CTMQ faithful to get a flavor for the museum.

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Ed gets his CTMQ thumbs back in gear

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Cost: Very confusing; take the $8 package deal at the town museum
Hours: Sat 10-4; Sun 1-4
Food & Drink? There’s a restaurant named The Red Onion across the street.
Children? Skip it
You’ll like it if: You know what “rococo” and “Italianate” mean
You won’t like it if: You only went here and not the other 2 places for the same money
Freebies: None

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For the Curious:

Museum website
Random Hurlbut name stuff
Historic buildings of CT blog
Some Hurlbut info towards the bottom
Rococo
Italianate

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