“Miss Perkins” invites you for a tour

Miss Perkins at the door… well actually, it is Jennifer who portrays Miss Perkins who will be greeting you at the door and providing a tour of the Shaw Mansion with a special perspective.

Jennifer Emerson has done a great deal of research to create the role of “Miss Jane Perkins” as she lived in this house in 1876 (and sold the house to the historical society in 1907), and we have offered “first-person interpretive performances” staring Jennifer in the role of Miss Perkins. These “Tea with Miss Perkins” performances have been very popular over the past three years. The cast of characters grew to include the maid, and “Mother” – Mrs. Perkins, and occasionally a brother or two.

The tours on these Saturdays, however, will feature Jennifer in the “third-person” sharing with our visitors some of the intimate knowledge she has gleaned in her research. Although Jennifer will be in her “period attire” (as her dress and accessories are accurate to the time we prefer that phrase to “historic costume”), she will not be trying to maintain the role of Miss Perkins. So you won’t be seeing the ghost of Miss Perkins, but you will be gaining some truly hidden information.

This unique opportunity to learn more about our community and our past is only available for a limited time. This will be an ideal time to return to the Shaw Mansion and bring your visitors for a “limited edition” experience.

NLCHS Annual Meeting ~ 12 September

NLCHS Annual Meeting ~ 12 September

The Debut of our New Classroom, plus:

 Jane Perkins Revealed

Please join us for the 140th annual meeting of the New London County Historical Society which will be held at the Shaw Mansion Sunday 12 September beginning with an hors d’oeuvres and wine reception at 4 pm followed by the business meeting at 5:15.

Following the business meeting Jennifer Emerson and Penny Havard will share with members the process and the research that went into creating the “persona” of Miss Jane Perkins.Secrets of a locked trunk

Let’s say that “someone” has an idea to create a new first-person interpretive program for a unique historic site, that will “bring to life” an actual individual who once lived at the historic site. How do you make the idea into reality? How do you construct a life from the past? How do you make your interpretation of that individual believable? How do you create the clothes that will evoke the past, and position this individual in a certain time and place with a particular social standing and point of view? How do you create a setting where this person from the past would have an opportunity to be in conversation with people from the present? Come find out.

The “Tea with Miss Perkins” program was recently featured at the Annual Conference of the Connecticut League of History Organizations. With the theme, “Bring on the Drama: Theater and Costumed Interpretation at Historic Sites,” more than 100 history practitioners were interested in finding out more.

Jennifer and Penny created two presentations for the conference that outlined the creation of Miss Perkins and the creation of the costuming for the production. For our annual meeting they will share their presentations with our members.

Starting from, “What do we really know about Jane Perkins?” Jennifer put in hours of research time —  part detective, part playwright, part actor, Jennifer’s inspiration will be revealed.Miss Perkins

Penny’s task was not so much mystery, but was daunting nonetheless; with her considerable knowledge of fashion from the period, how did she take what Jennifer found out, translate that information and create a dress and accessories that would help to tell the story? And a second dress for the maid … there’s a lot to this story.

Tickets $20 for members. Call today to make reservations: 860.443.1209.


Miss Perkins around 1864.

Jane and Ellinor 1876 [2010 really]

Secrets of a Locked Trunk ~ A Visit with Miss Perkins and Family

Secrets of a Locked Trunk ~ A Visit with Miss Perkins and Family

Call today to get your tickets: 860.443.1209

Miss Perkins and some of her family members will present a “first-person interactive performance with tea” over the last two weekends in August. Tickets will be available for both Saturday and Sunday late afternoon performances on 21 and 22 August and 28 and 29 August. In a variation on the “Tea with Miss Perkins” theme, the performance will be presented using the house and gardens as the setting for our story, and tea and period-appropriate refreshments will follow.Entertaining in the garden

The setting for our story is 1876. Miss Perkins and her niece, Elinor, have been rummaging through the attic of the family’s ancient house. They’ve found a small locked trunk which obviously once belonged to a member of the family, but what lies within? With Mother’s permission (and with her curiosity aroused as well) they are determined to find out.

In 1876, the Shaw Mansion was home to Mrs. Nathaniel Shaw Perkins, her son Nathaniel Shaw Perkins, Jr., her daughter Jane Perkins, her granddaughter Elinor, (daughter of Mary Perkins Griswold who died in 1863), and two servants. In 1907 Jane Perkins sold the house to the New London County Historical Society to be its permanent home; by placing the story thirty years before that event we return to the centennial year, a time when many Americans began to truly look back at what had been accomplished since we declared our independence. Visitors will have an opportunity to be transported back in time and will see how the concept of preserving history might be older that you think.

“Jane Perkins,” “Elinor,” and “Mrs. Perkins,” will be left behind during the tea service. Coming out of character, Jennifer, Lilly and Penny will be available to answer your questions from the 21st century. If you have had tea with “Miss Perkins” before we hope you’ll return for this new performance and for the opportunity to ask about dresses or recipes or Frances Caulkins, and learn of the amazing amount of research that backs up each performance.

Reservations can be made by calling the Shaw Mansion at 860.443.1209. Tickets prices are $15 for adults and $12 for children.

PerformancesSet for tea

21 and 22 August  at 3 pm

28 and 29 August at 3 pm