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Newtown Historical Society Schedules Open House, Beekeeping Program



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“Oh, the buzzin’ of the bees in the cigarette trees,” go the lyrics to Burl Ives’ version of the paean to a hobo utopia, “Big Rock Candy Mountain.”

Newtown Historical Society can’t promise utopia for anyone, hobo or otherwise, but there will be plenty of buzz by and about bees at the society’s next open house, scheduled for Sunday, June 23, from noon to 4 pm, at The Matthew Curtiss House, 44 Main Street.

Newtown resident Leslie Huston and fellow beekeeper Dean Haines will use the platform of their business, Bee Commerce, to show both historical and modern beekeeping equipment. They also plan to show an observation hive with live bees enclosed in a glass-sided mini hive.

Ms Huston’s goal is to offer helpful guidance to the hobbyist and backyard beekeeper. She will offer products from her business as well.

This will be the last scheduled open house of the spring season.

The Matthew Curtiss House, home of the historical society, is one of the oldest buildings on Main Street. It was constructed about 1750 and purchased by Matthew Curtiss in 1781; Curtiss continued to live there until his death in 1824. He is sometimes called Junior, in deference to his father, the first of the family to live in Newtown, though the elder apparently lived in the Berkshire section of town.

Maintained by the historical society as a house museum, the society’s collections on display are intended to represent the house throughout its life, not just the period of Curtiss ownership. Thus, the artifacts range from a tall case clock made in Newtown in the 1780s by Ebenezer Smith to a 19th Century weathervane that swung round the barn of Scrabble developer James Brunot in the 20th Century to 20th Century graphics and needlework.

All the items in the house reflect either a direct Newtown connection or are examples of things that might have been used in the town, whether for work, play, or to celebrate an occasion. These treasures will all be on view in their context within the Curtiss House.

In addition to viewing items from the society’s collection, visitors on Sunday will also be invited to hear the newly remastered recording of the 19th Century organette.

Costumed docents will be available to lead tours, or guests will also be free to walk through the house on their own.

There is no charge for the open house; donations are gratefully accepted and help the entirely volunteer organization with its mission and building upkeep.

Reservations are not necessary, but additional information is available by calling 203-426-5937, visiting newtownhistory.org, or finding Newtown Historical Society on Facebook.

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