‘We’re Very Excited’: NCM&HS Presents on $2 Million ‘Campus Reimagined Campaign’

The New Canaan Museum & Historical Society—the oldest organization of its kind in Fairfield County, established in 1889—is working toward a $2 million fundraising goal that will see its spacious Oenoke Ridge campus reimagined, officials say. Launched in June, the fundraising campaign supports a four-pronged plan that will see new buildings erected and existing spaces reused, according to NCM&HS Executive Director Nancy Geary. Where the organization’s library now is located—inside the Town House on the main floor—will be “The Bartlett Center for New Canaan History” with a “permanent exhibition on the history of New Canaan,” Geary told members of the Board of Selectmen at their Dec. 19 meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference. “And we’re finalizing what they call the ‘assets’ for that, and there are going to be media consoles that are interactive, especially because we can’t possibly tell the history of this town in 1,0000 square feet,” Geary said.

‘What Makes New Canaan So Special’: NCM&HS Launches October4Design 2023 [Q&A]

The New Canaan Museum & Historical Society this month launches its fourth annual October4Design, a 10-day celebration of art, architecture and design in New Canaan that includes exhibitions, house tours, talks and other events at NCM&HS and participating local nonprofit organizations (here’s a calendar of events). On Tuesday, we met with Nancy Geary, executive director of NCM&HS, to talk about October4Design and what attendees can expect from this year’s Modern House Day Tour (tickets here). Here’s a transcription of our interview. ***

New Canaanite: Before we get into the specific events you have lined up for October4Design, tell me how it started and what it is generally. Nancy Geary: The Historical Society has been running the Modern House Day Tour to celebrate Midcentury-Modern architecture in New Canaan since 2001.

NCM&HS Launches ‘Little Free Library’ for the Community

There’s free books on Oenoke Ridge. This month, the New Canaan Museum & Historical Society set up a “Little Free Library” next to a bench out front of the 1825 Town House on campus at the top of God’s Acre. “It’s a national organization where you buy the box and you fill it with your books,” NCM&HS Executive Director Nancy Geary told NewCanaanite.com. “And the idea is that people can come and take a book. They can either read it and return it, or they can take it and keep it.”

The organization launched its “library”—a red box on a post that resembles a bird feeder—thanks to the generosity of New Canaan’s Branch family.

Organization Seeks Changes to ‘Gores Pavilion’ Agreement with Town

A venerable nonprofit organization is seeking changes to its lease with the town regarding an historic building located in a public park. The New Canaan Museum & Historical Society has proposed changes to its lease agreement for Gores Pavilion, an iconic structure in Irwin Park, including that “exterior painting” be added to a list of repairs that NCM&HS can request town funds for, according to documents obtained by NewCanaanite.com through a public records request. 

Painting had been in the existing 2007 agreement as the sole responsibility of NCM&HS, but under the proposed change, the responsibility for the cost of exterior painting would be incurred by the town while interior painting remains the responsibility of the nonprofit organization. The drafted revisions appeared to have been submitted to the town in January by NCM&HS Executive Director Nancy Geary, though no action has yet been taken, according to Selectman Nick Williams.

During the July 11 Board of Selectmen meeting, Williams mentioned to First Selectmen Kevin Moynihan that he had been contacted by Historical Society officials asking for an update. “The Historical Society, I guess there was a request from Nancy to make some minor modifications to the Irwin agreement,” Williams said at the meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference. “The Gores Pavilion agreement.