Bill Hosley to Examine the Art & Society of the Connecticut Valley at Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum

RA on Hadley chestWethersfield, Conn. (July 28, 2015) – Historian Bill Hosley will share his insight on what was once one of the cultural cradles of American civilization—Connecticut’s central valley, which blazed trails in art, architecture, technology, industry, agriculture, governance, religion, and social reform—at the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, on Thursday, October 8, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. in the Webb Barn. The presentation will be preceded by a wine reception (by donation) at 6 p.m.

Hosley’s lecture revisits the themes and materials he presented in his award-winning “The Great River” 1985 exhibition at the Wadsworth Atheneum, where he was a former curator and exhibition developer. His richly illustrated program is a survey of the people, places and objects that figured prominently in the cultural and artistic life of the Connecticut Valley during its first two centuries. He will explore aspects of regional history through the study of gravestones, architecture, household furnishings, and regional industry. These objects illustrate the bond that linked the neighboring towns of the Connecticut Valley while offering insights into the people who owned them.

middletown image hosleyHosley maintains that the Connecticut Valley has long been a symbol of the “other” New England. Set apart from the dominant, cosmopolitan maritime cultures, he notes it was, in many ways, the first American frontier, a region that quickly moved beyond subsistence to achieve a sense of purpose, comfort, and style. The valley’s transformation from an essentially provincial and agrarian culture to the vanguard of the 19th century’s high-tech, industrial revolution will also be discussed.

Hosley is the principal of Terra Firma Northeast, a cultural-resource development and marketing and communications consultant, a social-media expert, historian, writer, and photographer. He was formerly director of the New Haven Museum and Connecticut Landmarks where he cared for a chain of historic attractions throughout Connecticut. Previously, as a curator and exhibition developer at Wadsworth Atheneum, he organized major exhibitions including “The Great River: Art & Society of the Connecticut Valley,” “The Japan Idea: Art and Life in Victorian America,” “Sense of Place: Furniture from New England Towns,” and “Sam & Elizabeth: Legend and Legacy of Colt’s Empire.” He has studied, lectured and advised hundreds of museums and heritage destinations around the country, and served as a content specialist for PBS, BBC and CPTV film documentaries.

About the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum

Located in the heart of Connecticut’s largest historic district, the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum provides the quintessential New England experience – from the American Revolution to the early 20th century. Tours include the 1752 Joseph Webb House, where General George Washington met with French General Rochambeau and planned the military campaign leading to the end of the Revolutionary War, the 1770 Silas Deane House, built for America’s first diplomat to France, and the 1788 Isaac Stevens House, which depicts Connecticut life in the 18th and 19th centuries. For more information visit: or call (860) 529-0612. Like us on Facebook:


Charles Lyle, Executive Director
(860) 529-0612, ext., 14, [email protected]

Julie Winkel, Media Specialist
203-815-0800, [email protected]