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Coming Home: Building Community in a Changing World
A Permanent Exhibit of Regional History with Changing Displays
For three centuries new families have come to the Waterbury region. Learn about them by touring our new history exhibit. Be transported into the worlds of colonial farmers (1680-1800), factory workers and industrial magnates (1800-1950), and citizens of our contemporary world (1950-today). This dynamic interactive exhibit provides insight into Waterbury’s history, telling stories that are relevant to those who live here today, connecting the past to the present, and laying a foundation for the future.
Fortune was an 18th century African American man who was enslaved in the Waterbury household of Dr. Preserved Porter. With the aid of new technology this exhibit reveals the complex stories of Fortune, his family, the Porter family, and the story of slavery in Waterbury. An interactive kiosk includes short videos of Fortune's skeleton being examined by anthropologists. For more of Fortune's story, click here.
Play and Learn
This exhibit is packed with hands-on activities designed to entertain while educating. Build a village and decide where to place your home, mill, church or shop on Waterbury's rugged but swampy terrain. Move a lever and see how Waterbury changes from a farming community to an industrial city to a city divided by highways. Work the production line, and realize the stress of making a button in 30 seconds. Play Risky Business, a pinball game based on the risks and rewards of starting a factory in 19th century Waterbury.
Hear Our Stories
Pick up a phone and listen to the voices of people in the region describing their experiences. Topics include: Coming to Waterbury, Life in the Neighborhoods, Celebrating Holidays, Finding Work and City Life among others. These stories are just a sample of the audio-files in the Museum's extensive oral history collection.
The Conversation Table is a unique activity center that features a digital map displaying the greater Waterbury region. It provides regional data including housing density, population, manufacturing jobs, and income levels. It also allows visitors to take a stand on current issues facing the region today. Players can run for election, building their platform on material in the exhibit and can win election based on the votes of other visitors.
Explore the Collections
The exhibit design allows more objects from the Museum’s collections to be viewed by the public than ever before. Study cases display artifacts that have been saved by local people over the last centuries. Learn more about who made these items and how they were used by exploring the Museum's collections database at each study center kiosk.