Photo credit: Frank Poulin Photography 

Connecticut Landmarks Annual Report 2023


Deborah Ullman, Chair 

Margaret Steeves, Vice-Chair 

Joseph Grabarz, Secretary,Collections Stewardship Chair 

Beth Iacampo, Personnel Chair  

Judie Saunders, Treasurer*



Michael Arseneault 

Deirdre DiCara*

Deborah Lynn Hilton  

Elsbeth Geldhof 

Cornelius O’Leary, Governance Chair 

Douglas Shipman 

Leonardo Suzio  

Aaron Trahan  


Honorary Trustees 

Douglas Anderson 
Christel Ford Berry 
James Bowers 
Deborah Davis 
Jared Edwards 

James Parry 
Patrick L. Pinnell, FAIA 
Ronna Reynolds 
David Rhinelander 
The Honorable Robert R. Simmons 
Tess Torrey 
Jim Wu 


Trustee Emeritus 

Susan R. Kelly

*New Trustees as of September 2023


Dear Friends of Connecticut Landmarks,

This has been an incredible year of forward momentum at Connecticut Landmarks. We have been thrilled to connect thousands of visitors with important local history, their favorite authors, their own ancestors, and a vibrant community of artists and musicians. We’ve been honored to receive grants that will allow us to better meet the needs of our sites, our collections, and you, our visitors.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the dedication of our staff, volunteers, and Board of Trustees. Trustees are helping to set the trajectory for our organization. Staff have taken on new roles in response to the priorities we’ve set. The continuous support of our generous donors, members, and visitors enables our work and helps make history matter.

We’re eager to continue welcoming families, friends, and history-lovers to our programs—new additions and beloved favorites—and share with you the exciting preservation efforts to come in 2024 and beyond. In fact, we have already begun planning for the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of our country in 2026, which will be reflected at each of our sites.

With all the important programs, preservation work, collection updates, and more taking place across our sites this year, we have created this digital report to share even more of the work we’re proud of. Continue reading to explore all we’ve done this year and see what’s in store for next year.

Yours in History,

Aaron Marcavitch, Executive Director

Deborah Ullman, Chair, Board of Trustees

Central Office Staff 

Aaron Marcavitch, Executive Director 

Robert Brock, Deputy Director 

Shaelyn Amaio, Director of Public Engagement & Marketing 

Aileen Bastos, Preservation Manager 

Emma Bissell, Archives Intern 

Erin Farley, Collections Manager & Palmer-Warner Project Manager 

Olivia Grella, Marketing & Communications Associate  

Jocelyn Weaver, Assistant Collections Manager  


Landmarks Site Staff 

Anne Marie Charland, Site Administrator, Nathan Hale Homestead  

Jana Colacino, Assistant Site Administrator, North Central Region 

Chelsea Echevarria,Assistant Site Administrator, Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden 

Lynette Fisher, Site Administrator, Southeast Region 

Jessica Green, Assistant Site Administrator, Nathan Hale Homestead 

Lynn Mervosh, Site Administrator, North Central Region 

Peg Shimer, Site Administrator, Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden  

Nicole Thomas,Assistant Site Administrator, Southeast Region 



2023 Programs

The Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden welcomed more than 225 bibliophiles to meet New York Times Best-Selling author Martha Hall Kelly in celebration of the launch of her latest historical fiction novel, The Golden Doves. For the first time since 2019, attendees could be in community with other fans as they toured the family home of Lilac Girls protagonist Caroline Ferriday in Bethlehem, the site where inspiration for Martha Hall Kelly’s novels first struck. If you were unable to attend this sold-out event, Connecticut Landmarks is thrilled that Martha will be returning in 2024 for another exciting public program at the property.

Nursing students from the CT State Community College Capital visited the Isham-Terry House to learn about former resident Oliver K. Isham, who practiced medicine in Hartford from the late 19th to the mid-20th centuries.

CT Landmarks staff worked closely with program director Jeff Partridge to set goals for the program, highlighting the changes in nursing care over time, and discussing bioethics and medical law using primary sources that outline Dr. Isham’s controversial court cases. Students explored Isham’s medical tools and archives to understand treatments that were common when he practiced, and toured the house to better understand Hartford’s changing physical and cultural landscapes.

After pausing this program during the pandemic, our staff was excited to welcome nearly 100 people this April to investigate, reflect, and discuss medical history and ethics, historical instruments, and Hartford heritage. We’re thrilled to continue this collaboration to share the fascinating story of Oliver Isham’s work with future students.


This year, Nathan Hale Homestead hosted 27 field trips from 13 towns across Connecticut, as well as a homeschool group.

Students engaged in several activities covering themes such as the American Revolution, what it means to be a spy throughout history, and life on a colonial farm. Group favorite activities include:

  • Hearth and Health: Young scholars learn about 18th century food ways and the use of herbal medicines in the 18th century home.
  • Visit a Soldier Encampment: Our costumed guide takes students through a show and tell of equipment used in the encampment of a soldier or camp follower and teaches them how to march to the commands of an officer.
  • Schoolhouse: Young scholars step back in time to learn about the life of an 18th century student by participating in 18th century lessons of reading, writing, and arithmetic before taking part in recess with wooden hoops, graces, balls and cups and Jacob's ladders (wooden toys).

The Hempsted Houses hosted around 75 students from the Integrated Day Charter School in Norwich, Saint Joseph Catholic School, and The Williams School in New London studying colonial living and Northern slavery.  

Students participated in candle dipping, rope making, quill writing, and other period-specific activities, while students studying Northern slavery participated in a day-in-the-life of Adam Jackson and Joshua Hempsted to give them an idea of the difference between the roles of the enslaved and the enslaver. The students also experienced time in the garret, where Adam slept, and took part in the labor-intensive tasks Adam was responsible for, such as water and wood fetching. They also learned how Joshua built privilege and generational wealth because of Adam's place in the household. 

This coming spring, 30 sixth and seventh graders from The Williams School in New London will participate in a Witness Stone installation to commemorate Adam Jackson. In partnership with The Witness Stones Project, the students will conduct research through primary documents and develop projects culminating in installation presentations. 

Additionally, after a lengthy hiatus, we’re excited to announce that New London public schools will return to our site for field trips. The Hempsted Houses will partner with other Heritage sites in New London to welcome back over 300 thirdgraders to participate in our educational programs.  


Our Hartford, New London, and Suffield properties were enlivened by music this season, bringing over 1000 visitors to enjoy Sunset Sounds, Make Music Day, and Music in the Hatheway Barn.  

Make Music Day 

In June, the Hempsted Houses celebrated with Ol' Possum's Dixieland Jazz Band. Guests enjoyed listening to songs from the Great American Songbook andDixieland standards and participated in singing, dancing, and music-making. At the Butler-McCook House & Garden, perennial favorite Ed Fast & Congabop took to the Garmany Music Terrace and filled the garden with their Latin rhythms.   

Sunset Sounds and Renaissance Gyal 

Close to 700 visitors joined us at the Butler-McCook House for another amazing summer of Sunset Sounds. Performers in the series included: Kris Allen Quintet, Nicole Zuraitis Quintet, Atla & Matt DeChamplain Quintet and esteemed New Haven musician and educator Jesse Hameen II & Elevation. We were also thrilled to host two dance performances with live music through our collaboration with Renaissance Gyal in June and July, resulting in close to an additional 400 guests.   

This season, the Amos Bull Community Room came alive with the colorful paintings of Hartford artist, Miguel Jose Matos, in an exhibit titled Raw Flow II, celebrating his Afro-Latin heritage, while the Aetna Gallery in the Butler-McCook House hosted an exhibition on the contributions of Frederick Law Olmsted and the Olmsted Brothers firms on Hartford parks.

Music in the Hatheway Barn  

Pizzazz Strings, an international ensemble of celebrated professional musicians, filled the Hatheway Barn with elegant music on a late summer day in September. Over 20 visitors enjoyed the classical music of Mozart, Dvorak, and an encore of Parisian music—in honor of Phelps-Hatheway's wallpaper! —amidst the soaring timbers of the barn.

This season, we offered a total of five walking tours, including two new offerings for 2023: 

  1. "Hartford's Bridges & Walkways" focused on an exploration of the unique histories of Hartford's numerous historic bridges and walkways, many of them engineering marvels of their time. 
  2. "Beyond Main Street” ventured to the streets east and west of Main to appreciate their histories and architectural treasures. 

With three sold-out above capacity walking tours, a total of 89 guests participated in the five walking tours, which included FL Olmsted’s Hartford, Hartford’s Historic South End, and the ever-popular CT Forest & Park Trails Day walk, Discovering Historic Main Street Hartford. Not even inclement weather for two tour dates deterred people from attending! Plans for the 2024 season include a walk tracing the history of sport in Hartford, along with another tour celebrating Hartford women. 

Site Spotlights

Visitors from near and far enjoyed a season of exciting events, new acquisitions, and workshops at the Phelps-Hatheway House & Garden. In June, Michiel Brouns of Brouns & Co. led a workshop demonstrating the use of linseed oil paint, which had recently been used to restore the property’s fence.  

A Members’ reception in June marked the inaugural viewing of a collection of furniture pieces originally collected for the house by Sumner Fuller and his mother Emma, who owned the house in the early 20th century. Emma Fuller’s great-granddaughter, Caroline d’Otreppe de Bouvette, donated the pieces to the museum in 2022. At the event, she shared her first-hand retelling of Mrs. Fuller’s fascinating life and reflected on her family’s connection to the property. To learn more, visit the collections section of this report. 

In October, scholars from around the country gathered in the historic Hatheway barn to celebrate the 250th birth anniversary of early American architect Asher Benjamin, who designed and carved the entry to the Phelps addition of the house, his first formal commission in 1795. Attendees dove into the significance of Benjamin’s architectural work and legacy in shaping a new national identity.   

Benjamin’s entrance provided passage to Oliver Phelps’ richly-decorated new rooms, where he hung intricate hand-blocked Parisian wallpaper. Today, it is the largest collection of 18th-century wallpaper in situ in the world. We are proud to have received a Save America’s Treasures Grant for $146,500 to stabilize and conserve the paper for the next 200 years of its life. This is just one of the exciting projects we’re expecting over the next few years at the Phelps-Hatheway House & Garden and our other historic sites with support from the Good to Great grant awarded to us by Connecticut Humanities, funding received from the State of CT, and our generous donors. 

Boat Tours 

This season, 150 visitors joined us as we continued our boat tours in partnership with the Thames River Heritage Park Water Taxi. In addition to our existing tours, “White Sails, Black Hands” and “Exploring the Thames: Stories from a Colonial Diary & Growth Along the River,” we added a third, new tour, “The Captivating Books & Stories Inspired by Sites Along the Thames River,” which allowed participants to hear about the sites along the Thames that sparked authors' imaginations to write their stories. Highlights included The Mysterious Saga of Gallows Road, Venture Smith: The First Slave Narrative, and Ice Diaries, the incredible true story of Capt. William R. Anderson and his crew's harrowing top-secret mission aboard the USS Nautilus. The interest in the Hempsted Houses garnered from the boat tours resulted in increased visitation as many of those who enjoyed the time on the water wanted to see the houses and hear our stories. 

Woodworkers Workshop 

The Palmer-Warner House barn invited visitors to build a replica of a wall cabinet from the 1678 kitchen of the Joshua Hempsted House in New London this May. Participants enjoyed a furniture-focused tour of the house led by interpreter and historic woodworker John Baron, who highlighted similarities in the techniques participants learned to build their cabinets. The workshop was full, with eight participants who expressed an interest in future activities related to woodworking. We plan to offer another workshop with a presentation next year that will delve deeper into furniture-making techniques and the decorative aspects of historic furniture. 


In June, the Hempsted Houses held our 8th annual Juneteenth celebration, also known as Emancipation Day. The oldest celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, Juneteenth marks the day that Union troops arrived at Galveston Bay, Texas, to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed a full two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on June 19th, 1865. 

In keeping with modern celebration traditions, we emphasized education and achievement with speakers, performances, and educational events that welcomed over 200 people through virtual and in-person programming. In partnership with Joseph McGill of the Slave Dwelling Project and Tammy Denease of Hidden Women Productions, we presented programs that promoted history through the lens of the enslaved in a tangible and authentic way to local senior centers, students, and the community on Friday and Saturday. 

The Friday night Campfire Conversation centered around artist Jazzmen Lee-Johnson's pieces illustrating Adam Jackson, his family, and New London historical events. It sparked in-depth conversations about Northern Slavery and its roots, inspiring participants to think honestly about Northern complicity in the slave trade. Students, NAACP, community leaders, and clergy participated in the three-day event, culminating in Sunday church services and an afternoon of music with the New London High School Jazz Band and The Jim Hunter Group Jazz Ensemble. 

Next year, in partnership with the New London Historical Society, we will host an overnight conversation program with Joseph McGill and the Slave Dwelling Project. Guests will have the opportunity to further the conversation with Joe and other historians by sleeping in the Shaw Mansion, which housed several enslaved people. 

Nathan Hale Statue Before Treatment Nathan Hale Statue After Treatment

Return of the Bella Lyon Pratt Nathan Hale Statue to the Nathan Hale Homestead 

For decades, a bronze statue of a young Nathan Hale stood by the flagpole welcoming visitors to the Nathan Hale Homestead. In the early 2000s, the statue was cut off at the ankles and stolen from the property. It was missing for years. Amazingly, in April of 2007, an anonymous call to the Connecticut State Police led to the discovery of the statue at a fishing hole about 13 miles away.  

The statue needed conservation before it could be returned to the property where Nathan Hale was raised. The Town of Coventry provided grant funding to conserve the statue. Susan Holbrook of Holbrook and Hawes LLC, in Bethany, CT, was contracted for the project. Resin was set within the statue’s legs to reattach the statue’s feet, with steel threaded rods attached to washers and bolts to secure the base. The feet were repainted, and the statue given an overall clean, wax, and buff.  

Nathan Hale is now on display in the Visitor Center at the Nathan Hale Homestead – with no plans to go swimming any time in the future! 

NPS-RTCA at the Palmer Warner House 

The National Park Service – Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program (NPS-RTCA) provided Connecticut Landmarks with technical assistance in planning a trailhead at the Palmer-Warner House in partnership with the East Haddam Economic Development Commission to help develop a plan for a pedestrian-bicycle way on Route 82. Our portion of the project involved the creation of outdoor signage for a walking path around the property. CT Landmarks is thrilled to welcome visitors to visit the Palmer-Warner House and the walking path to engage with history and the outdoors. As part of the plan, we also participated in a community forum, surveys of the townsfolk, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony.  

As a collaborative partner, NPS-RTCA provides their services to support locally led conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the USA to create spaces that will engage future generations in the outdoors. Learn more here. 


Connecticut Landmarks is embarking on a new Collections Management System (CMS) custom made for us from Argus, by Lucidea. It will help us streamline our database, making it much more user-friendly, assist with upcoming inventory projects, and provide the organization with a public-facing web-based portal to allow the public and staff to access our collections. We currently have a demo database we are working with while the final version is being built to our specifications. The Collections Department has participated in six training sessions to learn the ins and outs of the system, both from a front-end and back-end user perspective. We are excited to expand the reach of our properties and collections to visitors across the world.