Arts and Culture
Food and Wine
People and Places
Science and Nature
Travel and Lodging
New Hampshire
Rhode Island
Home » ARTS AND CULTURE » CONNECTICUT » Brookfield Museum and Historical Society
Brookfield Museum and Historical Society     BY: Andrea Reda
Brookfield Museum and Historical Society

Museum Review

By Duncan Goodwin | February 28, 2012

Museums often narrate the history of a specific era or bring together collections of artifacts, but this museum tells the story of a specific town, Brookfield, Connecticut.

The Brookfield Congregational Church

But what makes the history of Brookfield so important? Before the arrival of settlers from Europe the area was inhabited by the Pootatuck Indians, members of the Algonquin Federation.

The towns of Danbury, New Milford and Newtown were established between 1687 and 1710, but residents from the northeast corner of Danbury, southwest part of New Milford and northwest part of Newtown found it difficult to attend their respective churches, especially during the harsh winter months.

The settlers of those three areas petitioned the General Assembly in 1743 “to their being set off and made a district Ecclesiastical Society or having liberty for winter parish.” “Winter privileges” were granted in 1752 and Newbury Parish was formed in 1754.

A year later building began on a meetinghouse at what is essentially the site of the current Congregational Church. When completed in the fall of 1757, Thomas Brooks was ordained as the permanent minister, and the meetinghouse was dedicated on the same day.

In May 1788 the Parish of Newbury became Brookfield town - named after Rev. Brooks.

A Sign Indicating the Brookfield Historic District

In 1968, a group of likeminded individuals from the town met at the home of Samuel S. Walker, Jr. a noted historian which led to the formation of the Brookfield Historical Society.   Walker proclaimed that the society’s aim was the “preservation of the past in order to serve the future,” a motto that has served the society well.

In 1991, the area surrounding the Congregational Church (which includes the museum) was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and became a historic district.

The museum boasts a collection of 13,000 artifacts directly connected to the town and the surrounding area, ranging from Bone China to farmers tools and railroad memorabilia.   In addition to their permanent collection, the museum hosts limited run exhibits.

One such event is the museum’s 20th Annual Model Train Exhibition.   The exhibit is open for two weekends - March 20 & 21, 2011 and March 27 & 28, 2011. This popular show will include multiple forms of art and history; everything from photos and artwork, to videos and model train sets.   Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for senior citizens and Historical Society members, $1 for children (7-14) with children under 7 years being admitted for free.

An upcoming lecture will hit home on a more personal level.   On Tuesday, April 5, 2011, at 7.30PM the museum will the host the American Military Forum - WWI and the Impact on the Local Family, which will tell the story of a Brookfield family whose son was drafted and how they were affected by the war. Admission is free.

The museum has a Research Center, located in the same building, which provides the public access to a collection of 1,500 books and booklets, as well as old newspapers and periodicals.

The physical museum itself is not the only location overseen by the Brookfield Historical Society.   The Historical Cemeteries Association of Brookfield is a committee created by the Historical Society in order to preserve cemeteries which do not have a functioning caretaker.

A Small Oil Can - Just One Artifact in the Museum's Collection
BY & COPYRIGHT: Brookfield Museum and Historical Society

Gurski’s Forge is a property recently gifted to the society and the refurbished property houses a shop and has hosted blacksmithing demonstrations with more events to follow.

The Brookfield Museum and Historical Society is a volunteer, non-profit entity.   You can help support the society by becoming a member or by making a tax deductible donation.

The museum is well worth a visit, particularly when hosting one of their superb exhibits.   Recommended.


Brookfield Museum and Historical Society

165 Whisconier Road, Brookfield, CT 06804 (at the junction of Route 25 and Route 133)

(203) 740-8140



Opening Times:

January to March

The second and fourth Saturdays of each month: 12PM to 4PM.

May to December

Every Saturday and the first Sunday of each month: 12PM to 4PM.

The museum can also open by appointment.

All rights in the photographs that accompany this article are reserved by their respective owners.

Share |
ONE is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.