Thursday, March 31, 2011

45th Season At The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum Commemorates The Civil War And Celebrates Museum’s 40th Anniversary As National Historic Landmark

The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum at 295 West Avenue, Norwalk, CT, reopens for its 45th season on April 8 at noon with docent-guided tours and an exciting calendar of events for children and adults.

The Opening will commemorate the Civil War Sesquicentennial with the unveiling of the exhibition, Mansion Fragments: Innovations in Architecture, Design, and Technology from the Civil War Era, featuring several objects, deemed revolutionary in mid to late 19th century, and drawn from the museum's permanent collection. LMMM programs are made possible in part by a generous contribution from the Xerox Foundation.

The Mansion's 40th Anniversary as a National Historic Landmark will be celebrated on April 8 with an evening reception for members and guests, 7-9 p.m. "To be designated a National Historic Landmark implies exceptional value of the site to the nation," said Sheldon R. Gerarden, LMMM President and Executive Director. "At this time we celebrate this treasure of excellence with 40 years of outstanding stewardship and enthusiastic visitor experience." The cocktail reception will be catered by Bull's Head Market.

Throughout the season, a team of knowledgeable guides will introduce children and adults to the Mansion's grand-scale design and Civil War era technology. Viewed as America's first castle, the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion is known around the world as one the finest examples of Gilded Age architecture. Built as a summer residence by railroad tycoon LeGrand Lockwood, a treasurer of the New York Stock Exchange and renowned art collector, the mansion was later inhabited by the Mathews. This well-to-do New York dynasty took full-time residence in the 30-acre Norwalk estate from the late 19th century through the Great Depression.

"The opening this year will commemorate the Civil War, a pivotal period in American history, as well as celebrate the Mansion's 40th anniversary as a National Historic Landmark," said Patsy Brescia, LMMM Chairman of the Board of Trustees. "We look forward to seeing the entire Fairfield County community take part in this momentous occasion."
During the season, full tours at the mansion are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $6 for children and young adults ages 8-18. Children under 8 are admitted free of charge. Tour hours are 12- 4 p.m., Weds-Sun. Tours are on the hour, and the last tour is at 3 pm. For information on educational programs, events and rentals, call 203-838-9799 or e-mail

Spring Events at  The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum

Mansion Fragments: Innovations in Architecture, Design, and Technology from the Civil War Era. April 8, 2011, 12-4 p.m.With Tour Admission: $10 adults, $8 seniors, $6 children 8-18. Stacey Danielson, Curatorial Consultant. During the Civil War, the Mansion was being built with the most advanced construction methods and manufacturing techniques of the day including cutting edge technology such as gas lighting, indoor plumbing with running hot and cold water, a ventilation system, and an early burglar alarm system, among others.  Most of the objects and architectural elements that will be part of this exhibit have never been seen by the public and will be shown for the first time when the museum reopens for the season.

Europe vs USA Oil Paintings by Artist Carlos Rios - April 8-May 5. Free admission after opening day. This is the fourth year of rotating art exhibits in the Billiards' Room of the Mansion. Carlos Rios opens the season with Europe vs USA, an exhibition of oil paintings depicting his extensive travels both here and abroad. Born in Colombia, South America, Carlos Rios studied at Academia Superior de Arte and Bellas Artes. Following his immigration to the United States in 1965, he continued his studies at the Paier College of Art in Connecticut. Rios' talent was quickly recognized by members of the United States art community. Since his arrival in the United States nearly thirty years ago, he has won numerous awards, held solo exhibitions throughout the U.S., and his original paintings and prints now hang in galleries and private collections worldwide. Rios works in oil, acrylic, watercolor, and pastel; his style and taste is eclectic, ranging from impressionistic to contemporary often with a focus on landscapes and outdoor scenes. He also demonstrates talents as a photographer and is recognized as an expert in frame design. His work was featured in such films as The Terminator, Blind Justice and on television's hit series Growing Pains.

Library Restoration and Herter Brothers Furniture Arrival - The Mansion's Victorian era splendor and the completion of the Library and Music Room furniture restoration will be celebrated on April 8 in conjunction with the Mansion's 40th Anniversary as a National Historic Landmark. Small pieces of the original 1867 embossed, engraved and printed wall covering by Paul Balin, Paris, which was almost entirely destroyed by water damage in the 50s, were used to reproduce the wallpaper. Its creation and installation was made possible by a generous contribution from the Meloy Foundation.

Music Room- A suite of newly restored rosewood seating furniture by the Herter Brothers, c.1868, will be exhibited in the Music Room. The restoration was made possible by a generous contribution from the Valle Weber Fay Memorial Fund. Tom Frank, of the Baggot-Frank-Lockwood Conservation Studios, Narragansett, RI donated his time and expertise in the rehabilitation of the inlaid and carved rosewood chair frames while Paul Hazlett III Upholstery, restored the original tufting and re-covered them in muslin and lavender satin fabric.

Lecture Series - Wednesday, April 13, 11 a.m.
The Greatest Crisis in United States History: The Causes, Course, and Consequences of the Civil War. A lecture by Steven S. Berizzi. Admission: $20 for members - $25 non-members. Lunch and a tour of the first floor of the Mansion is included.This talk will provide a brief and highly selective overview of the Civil War era from the "causation sequence" of the 1850s to the controversial post-war period known as Reconstruction, when the nation struggled to transform Lincoln's promise of a "new birth of freedom" into reality.  He will examine Abraham Lincoln's election to the presidency in 1860, the secession winter of 1860-1861, the outbreak of the Civil War on April 12, 1861, and the Union's triumph, which was marred by the assassination of President Lincoln on April 14, 1865.

Annual Victorian Tea - May 1, 2011 -  2 p.m. The Duchess of Bedford's teatime tradition continues at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum where guests will enjoy a quintessentially English tea fare featuring three types of sandwiches and delectable desserts including chocolate toffee trifle, as featured in Bon Appetit Magazine, assorted cookies, carrot and coconut tea cakes, and more. Music, a raffle, a hat contest, and additional entertainment will be part of this festive fundraiser catered by tea ceremony expert to the stars, Carol Timpanelli.

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