CURRENT AND UPCOMING SPECIAL EXHIBITS AND EVENTS AT THE MILL MUSEUM

The Mill Museum’s Executive Director Kira Holmes and Windham Co-Town Historian Jamie Eves recently co-hosted the WILI radio (1400-AM and 95.3-FM) drive-time talk show, “Let’s Talk About It,” when regular hosts Susan Johnson and Dennis O’Brien were on vacation. The show was video-recorded and will be broadcast on local public access television via Charter Communications on cable channel 192. WILI also posted it on its YouTube channel. To watch and listen, click here. 

Annual Deep Cleaning. Jan. 2 – Feb. 9, 2023. The Mill Museum closes every January for deep cleaning, routine maintenance, and mounting new exhibits. As native New Englanders, we know that January is the traditional month for Yankees to hunker down, clean the barn, fix the wagons, mend the harnesses, fire up the wood stove, and stock the pantry. We will reopen on Friday, February 10, at 10:00 a.m. We’ll still be checking our voice mail and email, though, so keep in touch. And we’ll continue to post on social media, update the content on our website, accept donations of historical artifacts, check in on our volunteers, plan events and programs, and add artifacts to our online collections catalog. 

Special Exhibit: Here All Along: African Americans in Northeastern Connecticut Before the Great Migration. Fri., Feb. 10 – Sun., July 16, 2023. This special exhibit explores the African American experience in northeastern Connecticut (with an emphasis on Windham and Willimantic) from the 1600s to 1910, with an additional section relating to the 20th century. Learn the stories of Jo Ginne, Eliza, Job and Jesse Leason, Lyman and Clarissa Jackson, Caesar and Julia Hall, and other African Americans who experienced northeastern Connecticut, its mill towns, and the meaning of freedom in very different ways than did their white neighbors. Although Connecticut’s African American population surged with the Great Migration from the South in the early 20th century, it is important to remember that Black people lived in Connecticut from its seventeenth-century beginnings as an English colony — that, indeed, African Americans have been “here all along.” Curated by Dr. Jamie Eves, Windham, CT’s co-Town Historian. For more information about this and other temporary exhibits at the Mill Museum, click here.

Community Event: Romantic Willimantic Chocolate Festival. Sat., Feb. 11, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The Mill Museum will have free chocolate treats in our gift shop. We will be closing at 3 p.m. to get ready for the evening’s Sweetheart Dance. For more information on Willimantic’s Chocolate Festival, see https://www.facebook.com/romanticwillimantic/.

Event: Sweetheart Dance Fundraiser. Sat., Feb. 11, from 7-11 p.m., at the Elks Club at 198 Pleasant Street in Romantic Willimantic. Bring your sweetheart — or a group of friends — and dance or chat the night away. The dance will have a cash bar and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Music by Patty Tuite and her band. Just $30 per ticket; all proceeds to benefit the Mill Museum. Please purchase your tickets by February 5. Online tickets will be available for purchase starting on Jan. 1st, or you may pay by check through the mail by sending the check to WTHM, 411 Main Street, Willimantic, CT 06226.


Sweetheart Dance



Event: Opening Reception for the “Here All Along” Exhibit. Fri., Feb. 24, 6-7:30 p.m. at the Mill Museum. Members and contributors are free, but the public will be charged admission to see the exhibit. The exhibit’s curator, Dr. Jamie Eves, Windham’s co-Town Historian, will be there and share his insights about the exhibit. Refreshments will be served in the Museum’s gift shop, and will be free to everyone. 

Program: Drop-in Spinning Bee. It’s a new year, and the Mill Museum’s Drop-In Spinning Bee with Peggy Church resumes. Sat., Feb. 25, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. in person at Dugan Hall, 157 Union St., Willimantic. Bring your spindle or wheel and join us at this free event. Beginners are welcome. We are still requesting that you be COVID vaccinated. Please let us know that you plan to come. If you have questions, contact Peggy at peggychurch2@gmail.com. Visitors to the Museum are welcome to drop in and chat with the spinners.

Program: Learn to Weave with Peggy Church. At the Mill Museum, 411 Main St., Willimantic. The first class of the next session will be from 1 to 4 p.m., Sun., Mar. 12. The series of 8 classes is held on Sunday afternoons, and the schedule is flexible to accommodate those enrolled. Students will learn how to measure the warp yarn and dress a floor loom, then weave a sampler to discover various weave structures. Next they will weave a project of their choice, learning how to read weave drafts and do project calculations. The class is limited to 3 students, and masks are required in the weaving studio. Students should be up to date with COVID vaccinations. The fee for 8 lessons is $240. If you are a brand new weaver, there is an additional fee of $30 to cover the cost of the textbook and materials.