Visiting the Hill-Stead Museum


I don’t know what the appeal was to want to visit the Hill-Stead Museum. I’ve wanted to since we moved to the Bristol area. I think I just did a search on the CT tourism site and thought that the historical building with hiking grounds sounded interesting. We finally visited this past summer. I must have built it up in my mind too much because I was somewhat disappointed.

Hill-Stead Mansion (9 of 11).jpg Hill-Stead Mansion (1 of 11).jpg Hill-Stead Mansion (4 of 11).jpg Hill-Stead Mansion (8 of 11).jpg

Because a tour was starting shortly after our arrival, we decided to do that first. The house was designed by Theodate Pope Riddle complete with gardens and a dairy farm. The rooms and artifacts were interesting to view, however, our tour guide made the entire thing a drag. She was very informative, but talked to Dan and I like we were children. It was frustrating. The worst part- tours are locked in to the house! We might not have been able to escape if we tried!

After the tour, we walked the gardens and a few of the trails on the grounds. They were preparing for a poetry reading in the flower garden, so we soon left. Overall, it was a nice outing, but not a place to go more than once. Well… maybe touring the flower garden earlier in the growing season would be nice, so we’ll have to see.

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Expanding upon being treated like children, the real problem with the tour guide is that she pushed us through. We had to look at things in the order she wanted and only for as long as she wanted, and then we had to move on. If we wanted to poke a moment longer or look at something she wasn't talking about, we were scolded! That's the part that really made the trip disappointing.

Dear Dan & Sherree,

I am very sorry to hear about your experience visiting Hill-Stead Museum in 2008. As the new Director of Education, I have been training and working with our museum guides to provide the highest quality tour for all visitors at all times. If you would like to look at the museum at your own leisure I suggest coming on the first Sunday of each month when we hold our open houses. You can move freely throughout the museum at your own pace and there are guides in each room should you have any questions. The museum also offers nature walks each month with our fabulous estate naturalist, Diane Tucker, a Farmer’s Market July-October and much more. We also have a dedicated group of museum teachers specifically trained to work with school children of all ages from PK-college.

If you are interested in coming back to the museum again, please let me know, I would like to extend to you two free admissions and a personal tour with myself or admission to our next First Sunday Open House. I encourage you to visit our website for upcoming events and hope that you will reconsider visiting Hill-Stead Museum again.

Marcie Charest
Director of Education

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