Stanley-Whitman House is a living history center and museum that teaches through the collection, preservation, research, and dynamic interpretation of the history and culture of early Farmington, Connecticut. Programs, events, classes, and exhibits encourage visitors of all ages to immerse themselves in history by doing, acting, questioning, and engaging in colonial life and the ideas that formed the foundation of that culture.
Located in the historic village of Farmington, the museum facility is centered on a ca. 1720 National Historical Landmark house furnished with period antiques to reflect the everyday activities of Colonial life in Connecticut. Surrounding the house are period raised bed gardens, an apple orchard, and heritage stone walls.
The public service areas of the museum, constructed in 2004, include a modern classroom, a period tavern room, post-and-beam Welcome Center, research library, exhibit gallery, Nancy Conklin History Gallery, and collection storage area.
The museum manages Memento Mori, Farmington’s ancient cemetery on Main Street, and the Village Green, located at the intersection of Rtes. 4 and 10. Stanley-Whitman House is supported in part by the Farmington Village Green and Library Association.
Historic Stanley-Whitman House
On High Street in Farmington … is the sober-colored dwelling, the last of the three ancient houses, all possessing overhangs, which, within the memory of men not yet old, looked westward from the eastern side of the thoroughfare.
- Norman M. Isham & Albert F. Brown, Early Connecticut Houses, 1900.
A “Dwelling House and six acres of land” was purchased by Ebenezer Steel from Deacon John Stanley on December 31, 1720, the first indication that the historic house at the heart of the museum existed. Records indicate that the building was constructed sometime between 1709 and 1720. In 1722, when Ebenezer Steel died, his oldest child, Mary, inherited the house, described in Steel’s will as “the other house and homestead.” Mary Steel and Thomas Smith, the earliest known inhabitants of the house, were married on January 14, 1725, when she was 18 and he was 25. They became the first of a succession of families who lived in the house. The time period represented in the house ranges from 1720 to 1772, with the successive occupancies of Thomas and Mary Smith (1720-35) and Solomon and Susannah Cole Whitman (1736-72). Both families were economically comfortable and well educated. Both families followed the Puritan religion in the Congregational Way, and all were farmers but practiced other trades, as well: Thomas Smith was a weaver and Solomon Whitman was an arbitrator, justice of the peace, probate judge, town clerk and shoemaker. The lives of both families are depicted in a tour of the historic house, beginning with the Smiths on the south side of the building, then moving to the Whitmans on the north side.
The Post Medieval-style house is a rare surviving example of early New England architecture, reminiscent of houses the early Colonists had known in England. A center chimney flanked by parlor and hall with two chambers above provided both living and storage space. The Colonists built houses from wood, the plentiful resource in the area, and used post and beam construction for the frame. The second floor extends beyond the first on the front façade, creating an overhang. The original purpose of the overhang is unknown, but it did provide more space in the upper chambers. The lean-to addition that extends across the width of the back of the house was added some time in the mid 18th-century, giving the house its distinctive saltbox shape.
You Can Rent Space at S-WH!
Stanley-Whitman House is a living history center situated on a tranquil 1 1/4-acre setting in the heart of historic Farmington village. Located on an attractive residential street of 18th- and early 19th-century houses, the facility features a generous garden area surrounded by apple trees.
Rental spaces are part of a 2004 addition to the museum. The facility is perfect for small weddings, receptions, meetings, and workshops.
Call the museum to arrange an appointment to see the facility and talk about how we can help to make your event a success – (860) 677-9222.
Institutional Advancement Development
(860) 677-9222 ext. 306 [email protected]
Public Engagement/ Education Programs Associate
(860) 677-9222 ext. 304 [email protected]
Public Engagement/ Community Programs Associate
(860) 677-9222 ext. 301 [email protected]
(860) 677-9222 ext. 307 [email protected]
Andrea Donald & Nicole Paquette
DYGS Coordinators [email protected]
Andres A. Verzosa
(860) 677-9222 ext. 305 [email protected]