Commerce and Culture: Architecture and Society on New London’s State Street was an exhibit on display at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum from October 2005 to April 2006. Mounted by guest curator, Abigail Van Slyck, Dayton Associate Professor of Architectural History at Connecticut College, she put the students of her architectural history senior seminar to work scouting out the best images from all the local repositories to tell the story of the cultural and social history of New London’s downtown core. The exhibit used photographs, maps, and objects to show the evolution of New London and its people through the changes that took place on this one street – from the period of the founding, through the growth of wealth of a busy port and regional commercial center, and including the difficult attempts to revitalize the downtown after it was commercially deserted for suburban malls.
The exhibit garnered an award of merit from the Connecticut League of History Organizations, the Wilbur Cross Award from the Connecticut Humanities Council, and a Leadership in History Award from the American Association for State and Local History.
While this attempt to translate that formal exhibit to the internet loses some of the impact of mural size photographs, we hope that as you explore the images presented here you’ll be able to get a sense of the changes in the community through the presentation of changes in the architecture.