Winter Programs

Beyond the Basic Sand Shaded Fan: A Demonstration by Bob Van Dyke

Saturday, February 11th

11:00 a.m. $15 General Admission $10 NSCDA-CT and Museum Members

Click HERE to register

Join Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking Director Bob Van Dyke as he demonstrates for woodworkers new techniques for creating sand shaded fans. 

Shaded fans were a common decorative motif in Federal style furniture. They were often inlaid into the corners of tabletops and drawer fronts and were made in many different styles and sizes. The process is fascinating, and the inlays can be used in all sorts of projects- from a tabletop, a door panel or a drawer front to a box top or tray.

About Bob:                                                                                                                                       

After 18 years as an award-winning chef in French restaurants, Bob left the business to begin a career in woodworking and teaching. Furniture making had provided an outlet to the pressures of the restaurant business until 1993 when he started the Harris Enterprise School of Fine Woodworking in Manchester, Connecticut. In seven years of operation, the school gained national exposure and recognition

In 2000, Bob formed a business partnership to open the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking (CVSW) in Manchester. The school was an instant success, and the demand for classes was so great that a second shop was built to allow two classes to run simultaneously. He continually strives to expand his skills and knowledge and had been studying and building period furniture for over 25 years. He is a Contributing Editor for Fine Woodworking Magazine and has written articles for Woodshop News and American Period Furniture. He has also done many videos for Bob’s school offers a variety of classes taught by himself and by many of today’s top woodworking instructors. This variety of instructors and styles ensures that there will be something for everyone at CVSW. 


Serving Up History! A Virtual Lecture Series

Prince Mortimer Revisited

Thursday, February 9th

12:30 p.m. Free on Zoom

Click HERE to register.

Community Historian John Mills will give an update on his extensive research into the life of Prince Mortimer, a slave from Guinea who was brought to New England in 1730 when he was six years old and died at the age of 110 in 1834 while serving a life sentence at the Wethersfield prison. John has advocated on behalf of Prince Mortimer and other individuals with similar untold histories to ensure that their stories are heard and remembered.

About John:

Originally from San Diego, John Mills is a technologist by trade but a genealogist and equity advocate by passion. The descendant of both southern and northern slaves, as well as the descendant of slave holders due to their relationships with female slaves, John focuses on unearthing little-known people and stories of this country’s history in slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. John’s goal is to honor the forgotten, as well as to apply critical thinking to our history as a means to find solutions to the many ripple effects today. Learn more about his work at


Madison’s America: Is It Possible to Sustain Democracy in the 21st Century?”

Thursday, February 16th

12:30 p.m. Free on Zoom

Click HERE to register.

History Professor Rafaele Fierro will talk about James Madison’s idea that in a large republic, with lots of people, representative democracy could work because competing interests would cancel each other out. Now in 2023, with 340 million Americans, can we keep our republic intact in the age of social media? Rafaele will explore this question during his presentation.

About Rafaele:

Rafaele Fierro was born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Italian immigrants. He attended Bulkeley High School in Hartford, received his B.A. from Trinity College in 1992, and his doctorate in immigration history from the University of Connecticut in 2000. He was inspired to teach history while at Trinity by Professor Jack Chatfield. Rafaele is currently a Professor of History at Tunxis Community College in Farmington and has written numerous articles for the Encyclopedia of Connecticut History Online (ECHO).


When Hartford Was a Retail Hub: the Growth of the City’s Great Department Stores

(1890s – 1960s)

Thursday, February 23rd

12:30 p.m.  Free on Zoom

Click HERE to register.

Hartford was once a thriving center for retail, with several large department stores, including the legendary G. Fox & Co. Daniel will talk about the development of the city’s major department stores, comparing the different ways they grew from small dry goods outlets into multi-department retail complexes. Stores to be discussed include Brown-Thomson, Sage-Allen, Wise-Smith and, of course, G. Fox – which became the nation’s largest privately-owned department store.

About Daniel:

Daniel Sterner received a bachelor’s degree in History from Wesleyan University and holds master’s Degrees in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago and American Studies from Trinity College in Hartford.  He has worked as a museum guide for the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, The Mark Twain House & Museum, and Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. Sterner is the author of two books, Vanished Downtown Hartford and A Guide to Historic Hartford, Connecticut. To learn more about Daniel’s work, visit his YouTube channel HERE.


Digging Deeper: One House, Two Worlds Tour

Dates and Tour Times:

Saturday, February 25, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, February 26, 2023, at 11:00 a.m.

Ticket Information:

Tickets must be purchased in advance. Tours are limited to 20 people. Museum and NSCDA-CT Members: $15 per person. General Public: $20 per person. Click HERE to purchase tickets.

In recognition of Black History Month, we invite you to join us for the One House, Two Worlds Tour on Saturday, February 25, and Sunday, February 26. The purpose of the One House, Two Worlds Tour is to start and/or continue the tough conversation about slavery in a setting that does not foster blame, shame, or guilt but, rather, provides a deeper understanding about the enslaved peoples at the Webb and Deane Houses.

In the Joseph Webb House, we will learn about the role that Black and Indigenous soldiers played in helping the Colonies attain their freedom. In the Silas Deane House, we will explore opulence and oppression under one roof. You’ll hear the stories of Hagar, Pomp, and Cloe – the enslaved people who worked for the Deane household.

The One House, Two Worlds Tour will be led by Museum educator and guide Tammy Denease. Tammy has worked at the Webb Deane Stevens Museum for nearly 20 years. In addition to helping develop education programs for the Museum, Tammy created the One House, Two Worlds program, which uses storytelling elements to bring to life the people who were enslaved at the Webb and Deane Houses. She is also the creative force behind Hidden Women Stage Company, where she brings to life on stage important yet hidden Black women in history. Tammy is also currently the Outreach Director for the Connecticut Freedom Trail.