It Happened In Your Town

Help us show the power of local history to tell global stories!

In 2024, we’re celebrating the 150th birthday of The Mark Twain House with our city-wide digital exhibit “It Happened In Hartford.” But what was happening in the rest of the state in 1874? Connecticut teachers and students (grades 6-12 & undergrads) and local historical societies are invited to team up and tell us what was happening in your town:

  • How were the communities and neighborhoods in your town changing?
  • What was new in your town?
  • What was made in your town?
  • What jobs did people have in your town?
  • How was land used in your town?
  • How did people get around in your town?
  • What decisions was your town making?

Each participating group will select 3 objects, documents, buildings, or other historical sources that tell us about their town. With guidance from the museum’s interpretive and curatorial staff, they’ll prepare and submit a full description for each item, including images. 

Each town’s materials will be included in our online exhibit, which will use the Collection Builder platform (don’t worry, we’ll take care of all the technical stuff!) Then, historians of the Gilded Age from around the country will write essays based on each town’s submissions, providing context for students’ discoveries.

It Happened In  Your Town will allow students to engage with their community’s past and present, demonstrating the power of local history to tell national and global stories. 

The project will officially begin in late 2023 and run through the end of 2024; submissions any time in that period will be included in the project. To receive updates on participation, or to inquire about program specifics, please complete the form below.

If you’re looking for a place to get started, try one of the Connecticut newspapers that has digitized copies from 1874: the Connecticut Western News, the Hartford Courant, the Litchfield Enquirer, the New Milford Journal, the Norwalk Gazette, the Plainville News, and the South Norwalk Sentinel.