Currently, our first-floor exhibit is Chester Postcards & Three Chester Notables. A selection of 200+ postcards from our archives as well as from several local deltiologists (postcard collectors) shows Chester through the eyes of local photographers in the early years of the 20th century. The three notables are Judge Constance Baker Motley, Civil Rights crusader who worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and others, and a federal judge, who lived in Chester for 40 years; Hugh Spencer, Chester photographer and illustrator, who lived most of his adult years in Chester with his family; and The Leatherman, a "man of mystery" who appeared in Chester every 34 days. The exhibit sponsor is Smith Bros. Insurance.
Our award-winning long-term exhibit, “Streams of Change: Life & Industry along the Pattaconk,” is on the second floor. The exhibit interprets the growth and evolution of Chester and how the town adapted over 300 years. This exhibit won the 2011 ‘Leadership in History Award of Merit for Exhibits’ from the American Association for State & Locals History, and the 2011 ‘Award of Merit for Exhibits’ from the Connecticut League of Historical Organizations. This exhibit has been recently revamped with new and exciting features.
Our first-floor seasonal exhibit for 2016 was Celebrating Chester Community Groups. The exhibit recognized some of Chester’s clubs and organizations that helped make the town beautiful, preserved natural spaces, provided scholarships, raised money for worthy causes, educated themselves and others, helping make Chester a great place to live.
Our seasonal exhibit in 2015 was Pastimes in Past Times: Chester at Play, focusing on early team sports, recreation, and games and toys at home. The exhibit included interactive games for all ages.
In 2013 and 2014, our seasonal exhibits, called Over the River and Through the Woods, focused on the origins of the town’s roads and highways; the train, trolley, ferry and steamboat services that once came to town; and early bicycling.
For two years, in conjunction with the country’s 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, our seasonal exhibits focused on the Civil War. The first year the exhibit was titled Chester Voices of the Civil War, telling the story of several Chester men who went off to serve. Their letters from the battlefield to their Chester families back home brought to life the personalities, concerns, patriotism, and emotions of these men who were intimately involved in the most devastating event in American history. Beyond the Battlefield was the second year exhibit and featured a picture of life at the homefront in Chester in 1862 while the Civil War raged in other areas of the country.