Holiday Carols & Cheer December 8 at the Historical Society

Singer and actor Dr. Richard Weidlich returns to the New Canaan Museum & Historical to lead holiday caroling on Sunday, December 8 from 3:00 – 4:00 pm. Stephanie Johnson will accompany on keyboard. The event is sponsored by Amy and Fabio Freyre and is in partnership with Staying Put in New Canaan. Dr. Weidlich has performed in opera, operetta and musical theater, as well as with symphonies and chamber ensembles. He is a professor at Sacred Heart University, teaching music classes and individual voice lessons.

Hat Madness Opens December 8 at the New Canaan Museum & Historical Society

The New Canaan Museum & Historical Society’s new exhibition Hat Madness opens on Sunday, December 8 with a reception from 1:30 – 3:00 pm. The show explores the history of hats, hat design and hat-making with over 65 hats from its extensive clothing and textile collection. From the simple bonnets worn in Colonial times to stunning pieces of art that were popular in the 1920s to the “Pussy Cap” of the 2017 Women’s March, this exhibition spans more than 200 years. Period garments and related accessories are also on display. Come learn about the origins of the famous Mad Hatter, a term used to describe the dementia experienced by men in the hat-making business.

Legalize Equality: Presentation by Jean Sweeney

The New Canaan Museum & Historical Society and the New Canaan Library are proud to present a six-part lecture series: Origins of Our Constitutional Rights. The first presentation will take place on November 20 at 7pm in the Library’s Lamb Room. Jean Sweeney will discuss the history of the Equal Rights Amendment, its impact, and continued efforts to see it passed. Her talk will be followed by a short documentary, Legalize Equality. A reception will follow.

Famed Artist T. M. Nicholas Discusses “Painting Water” Tuesday, November 19 at 6:30 pm

In conjunction with their current exhibition, NORTHEAST WATERSCAPES: Artists Explore Oceans, Rivers, Harbors, The New Canaan Museum & Historical Society presents a special evening with noted artist
T. M. Nicholas: Painting Water on Tuesday, November 19 at 6:30 pm in The Lindstrom Room. The exhibition features 60 works of art dating from 1838 to 1977 and focuses on New England and New York state. Nicholas will select works from the show to illustrate the complexities of painting water in constant motion. He will talk about how artists incorporate water to enhance their compositions and increase the range of colors. A number of Nicholas’ works will be on display to illustrate his observations and examples.

‘Pink Pills for Pale People’: A History of Cody’s Drug Store

[Editor’s Note: This local history article by New Canaan Historical Society volunteer Gordon T. Walker is the first in a series to appear monthly on]

Most New Canaanites know about Cody’s Drug Store, which operated continuously in town from 1845 until it was demolished in 1965 for the widening of Main Street. James Cody and his family operated the store from 1918 until its demolition. The store’s contents and many of the fixtures were donated to the New Canaan Historical Society, which created a new wing for the reconstruction of what had become a beloved town landmark. Today, Cody’s Drug Store is the most well known and popular of its many exhibits and relocated historic buildings. 

In its early days, the drug store was operated by Samuel Silliman, who was also the Town Clerk. The selectmen, perhaps being of like party affiliation, authorized him “to sell spirituous and intoxicating liquors at his drug store… for sacramental, medicinal, chemical and mechanical uses only.” Unfortunately, the Sons of Temperance, no doubt concerned about the definition of “medicinal,” successfully petitioned the town to rescind Silliman’s license.