Newtown news of 25, 50, 75 and 100 years ago, from the files of The Newtown Bee....Read Full Article
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The Matthew Curtiss House, home of Newtown Historical Society, is one of the oldest buildings on Main Street. It was constructed about 1750, and purchased by Matthew Curtiss in 1781.
Curtiss, who continued to live there until his death in 1824, is sometimes called Junior, in deference to his father, the first of the family to live in Newtown, though the elder apparently lived in the Berkshire section of town.
The Curtiss House is not just an old building, however. Maintained by the historical society as a house museum, the society’s collections on display are intended to represent the house throughout its life, not just the period of Curtiss ownership. Thus, the artifacts range from a tall case clock made in Newtown in the 1780s by Ebenezer Smith, to a 19th Century weathervane that swung round the barn of Scrabble developer James Brunot in the 20th Century, to 20th Century graphics and needlework.
All the items in the house reflect either a direct Newtown connection or are examples of things that might well have been used in the town, whether for work, play, or to celebrate an occasion.
Newtown Historical Society will offer a chance to view these treasures in their context within the Curtiss House on Sunday, May 21, when it hosts an open house at the historic building from noon until 4 pm.
Costumed docents will be available to lead tours, or guests are free to walk through the house on their own.
In addition, an ongoing demonstration of marbling paper will be offered. Marbled paper was known in Europe from the 17th Century, and became a popular addition to covers and end pages of books. A small display of antique marbled book paper will be available at the open house.
The demonstration will be led by Mairin Hayes, and visitors will be welcome to participate in the process. A donation of $2 is requested to cover materials.
Newtown Historical Society is an entirely volunteer organization with no paid staff, and volunteer staffing limits the society to one open house per month during the spring and fall.
The Matthew Curtiss House is at 44 Main Street. Visit newtownhistory.org or call 203-426-5937 for additional information.