War of 1812 Collaboration wins “Best in the State” Award

POMFRET – At their fall annual meeting, the Association for the Study of Connecticut History presented two awards to “The Rockets’ Red Glare” project.  The Bruce Fraser Award, recognizing the finest public history presentation in the state in 2012, was presented to the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, where the exhibition was on display from July 2012 through January of this year. The Betty M. Linsley Award, recognizing the best work on Connecticut history published by a historical society in 2012 was presented to the New London County Historical Society for the companion book to the exhibit, of which Glenn Gordinier, of Mystic Seaport, was the primary author.

“THE ROCKETS’ RED GLARE” was created by a partnership of the New London County Historical Society with Mystic Seaport, the Stonington Historical Society, the New London Maritime Society, and the Lyman Allyn Art Museum to commemorate the bicentennial of the beginning of the War of 1812. The museums and historical societies worked together in creating the exhibition, the book, and a website (available at http://warof1812ct.org). Fred Calebretta, Curator of Collections at Mystic Seaport was the curator for the exhibit, and Jeff Crewe, the exhibit designer.

In presenting the Bruce Fraser Award, Chairman Peter Hinks extolled the exemplary nature of the exhibit. “Working with a limited but exciting pool of documents and artifacts that included the famous Stonington Battle flag from 1814, the designers smartly deployed all to stage a rich narrative of a Connecticut assailed and transformed by the era’s naval, commercial and political frays.”

Awarding the Linsley prize, Hinks praised Dr. Glenn Gordinier’s expert guidance as well as the insight of numerous scholars. Speaking of the entire project he lauded the value of the collaboration that made it possible: “Key to the exhibition’s merit is its modeling of how a consortium of some of the state’s numerous local historical societies can combine their resources, knowledge, and energies to serve the people of the state through commendable public history.” The project also received a national level “Leadership in History Award” from the American Association for State and Local History at their annual meeting in September, in Birmingham, Alabama.

The bicentennial of the British attack on Stonington will be August 2014. Look for additional commemorative events being planned by the Stonington Historical Society. The book is available for sale from both the Stonington Historical Society and the New London County Historical Society.

The book and exhibition were supported by grants from Connecticut Humanities, the Coby Foundation, and the Edgard and Geraldine Feder Foundation. Creating the website was funded through a grant from the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut.

THE ROCKETS’ RED GLARE — Wins National Award

NASHVILLE, TN—June 2013—The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) proudly announces that a collaboration of the New London County Historical Society, Mystic Seaport, the Stonington Historical Society, the New London Maritime Society, and the Lyman Allyn Art Museum is the recipient of an Award of Merit from the AASLH Leadership in History Awards for The Rockets’ Red Glare—Connecticut and the War of 1812. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 68th year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.

The Rockets’ Red Glare featured a “three-fold” approach to sharing the impact of the War of 1812 on the state, including an exhibition at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, a companion book published by the New London County Historical Society, and a website. While the exhibition closed in January 2013, the book is still available for sale from each of the partners in the project, and the website is available at “warof1812ct.org”. The exhibition showcased historical objects from each of the partners’ collections. The 12’ x 18’ American flag that flew over Stonington during the attack by the British navy in 1814, a treasured artifact in the Stonington Historical Society collection, was a highlight of the exhibition.

Fred Calabretta, of Mystic Seaport, was the guest curator for the exhibition, and Glenn Gordinier, also of Mystic Seaport, was the primary author of the book. The exhibit design was the work of Jeff Crewe of Mystic, and the book designer was Trish LaPointe of Old Mystic. The website was primarily the work of Andrew German of Mystic and Joel Bergeron of  Old Mystic. Edward Baker, of the New London County Historical Society, was the project director.

This year, AASLH is proud to confer eighty-eight national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits, books, and organizations. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history. The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States.  The AASLH Leadership in History Awards not only honor significant achievement in the field of state and local history, but also brings public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions, and programs to make contributions in this arena.

The American Association for State and Local History is a not-for-profit professional organization of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history.  From its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, AASLH provides leadership, service, and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful in American society.

Wine and History ~ Cruise the Thames with the NLCHS

Saturday 20 October, 2012

Boarding at Cross Sound Ferry Landing begins at 12:30 pm ~ Departing 1 pm ~ Returning to the wharf at 4 pm

Cruise on the Cross Sound Ferry SEAJET from New London to Norwich and back with the New London County Historical Society

Tickets can now be purchased online for our Fall Foliage cruise of the Thames River. Members: $40.00, Non-members $50.00.

Join us for an extraordinary afternoon of fall colors, wine, and hors d’oeuvres while learning the history of the Thames River as a refuge for Commodore Stephen Decatur during the War of 1812. A free wine-tasting will be offered by Gordon’s Yellow Front Wine and Spirits aboard the vessel during the cruise with special offers of case pricing available only for orders taken that day.

Several authors of the NLCHS published book, THE ROCKET’S RED GLARE: The War of 1812 and Connecticut, will take turns at the microphone sharing some of the important connections between the war and the places we will be visiting. Music of the War of 1812 will be featured between speakers.

Also aboard will be a number of “people from the past” portraying the 1812 period. Hors d’oeuvres, both sweet and savory will be available at several stations on the boat.

Tickets may be purchased with a credit card by calling the Shaw Mansion 860.443.1209; or send a check with your order; or get registered online and pay with credit card, paypal, or a follow-up check. Groups pricing is available for groups of ten or more ~ call to get additional information.

Connecticut and the War of 1812 Website Launched

Militia Camp ImageOn the 200th anniversary of the declaration of war against Britain, the New London County Historical Society launched a new website “Connecticut and the War of 1812.” Available at: http://warof1812ct.org, the internet resource is a third component sharing information about this important turning point in the state and the nation’s history.

“THE ROCKETS’ RED GLARE” commemorates the bicentennial year of the beginning of the War of 1812 and was created by a partnership of the historical society with Mystic Seaport, the Stonington Historical Society, the New London Maritime Society, and the Lyman Allyn Art Museum. These museums and historical societies have worked together in creating a book which has just been released, and an exhibition which opened at the Lyman Allyn on Friday 6 July.

Edward Baker, Executive Director of the New London County Historical Society, describes the website as, “A little bit of the book, and a little bit of the exhibition,” whose aim is to share this information as broadly as possible. “If you search through most books on the War of 1812 and look for references to Connecticut you won’t find many. But if you look at our website and check just the listing of British ships stationed off of New London you’ll see this was not a minor effort.”  Web visitors can navigate the timeline to see the number of local events and how they intertwine with national and international events.

Creating the website was funded through a grant from the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut. The book and exhibition are supported by grants from the Connecticut Humanities Council, the Coby Foundation and the Edgard and Geraldine Feder Foundation.

While most Americans were shielded from the war, the people living along the coast of Connecticut were repeatedly attacked and actively engaged. In the last days of the American Revolution almost the entire town of New London was burned by the British (under Benedict Arnold) and the defenders at Fort Griswold in Groton were massacred. Just thirty years later, the same enemy is visible on Long Island Sound every day for almost two years. “That is the reality we are trying to bring to our local audience,” added Baker.

The exhibition showcases items from the collections of each of the partners. The 16-star American flag that flew over the defenders of Stonington is featured in the exhibit. The victories of our tiny Navy against the largest Navy in the world fostered a sense of national identity that had not previously existed. The War of 1812 inspired “The Star-Spangled Banner” and laid the groundwork for a national patriotism that is still felt today.

Commemorating the War of 1812

Exhibits

The Rockets’ Red Glare ~ Connecticut in the War of 1812

Open 6 July 2012 at the Lyman allyn Art Museum

waroof1812ct.org

Web exhibit will be available soon

Books

The Rockets’ Red Glare: The War of 1812 and Connecticut, Gordonier, Glenn; New London, CT: New London County Historical Society, 2012

At the printers ….

Events

Book Launch, 8 June 2012 at the Shaw Mansion

Exhibit Opening, 6 July 2012 at the Lyman Allyn

Thames River Cruise, 20 October 2012 http://nlchs.org/wordpress?p=1735

CHC Supports War of 1812 Bicentennial Exhibit

The Connecticut Humanities Council has announced the award of a $45,000 grant to provide funds for a bicentennial exhibit on the War of 1812 and its effects on Connecticut and the region. Scheduled to open just after Independence Day on 6 July 2012 at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, the exhibit will feature items from the collections of the partners on the project – the Stonington Historical Society, Mystic Seaport Museum, the New London County Historical Society, the New London Maritime Society, and the Lyman Allyn – as well as from other museums and private collections.

“The Rockets’ Red Glare,” will focus on important local events including Commodore Stephen Decatur’s naval squadron taking refuge in the Thames River to avoid the British, the bombardment of Stonington, the raid on Essex, and the effects of the British blockade on New London and the region. The 16-star American flag that flew over the defenders of Stonington will be featured in the exhibit. Funding is also being provided by the Coby Foundation of New York which focuses its grants solely on the exhibition of important textiles such as this rare flag.

“We’ve been working on planning and funding this project for more than two years,” said project director, Edward Baker, Executive Director of the New London County Historical Society. “We’re pleased to finally get this money lined up.” An earlier Connecticut Humanities Council grant covered most of the planning for the exhibition. At the same time, the Historical Society is publishing a companion history and exhibit catalog. Historian Glenn Gordinier of Mystic Seaport is the primary author of the book, and there are nine additional contributing authors.

Fred Calabretta, Curator at Mystic Seaport and guest curator for this exhibition, is excited about this show. “We don’t often have opportunities to address naval history at Mystic Seaport, so the chance to partner with these other organizations and share naval and militia stories allows me to focus on special interests of my own.” Gordinier is also thrilled to contribute to the project, “It is almost unheard of to have five separate organizations cooperating on a project of this scope. By combining our stories and collections we have created a major exhibit that will have a huge impact.”

The Connecticut Humanities Council grant, the Coby Foundation grant and additional grants and gifts to the New London County Historical Society will pay for exhibit fabrication and installation as well as for contractors designing and constructing special exhibit mounts and framing, audio programs and graphic elements. The exhibit will open on 6 July, 2012.