Many people find that wandering around a museum on a rainy afternoon is a great way to pass the time and it was no different Monday for U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4.

Himes got a personal, guided tour of the Fairfield Museum and History Center from Director Michael Jehle, accompanied by Thomas Walsh, the president of the center's board of directors, and state Reps. Brenda Kupchick, R-132, and Tony Hwang, R-134.

But unlike the general public, the tour group also got a behind-the-scenes peek at an soon-to-open exhibit, "Fairfield's Rockin' Top Ten," set to open Jan. 16. In a back storage room, among the antique furniture, rocking horses and baby carriages, Himes took a photo of two outfits belonging to the local recording and songwriting duo, Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, that he said he planned to tweet.

"I like to spend time at landmarks within my district," the congressman said, for two reasons. One, he said, he gets to learn more, and two, it can help to attract attention.

"There are such amazing things in this county that people don't know about," Himes said.

In addition to getting a look at the annual Holiday Express train show, which to be packed up Monday after its holiday season run, and exhibits highlighting the town's 375th anniversary, Himes also got a bit of a sales pitch from Jehle.

The museum, Jehle explained, functions largely on private donations, but noted that officials would soon be applying for a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and any help Himes' office could give in that regard would be most welcome. "We haven't gotten a lot of federal help in the past," Jehle said.

"We'll do all we can," Himes pledged. "Let us know."

Fairfield Museum and History Center is at 370 Beach Road. For more information, call 203-259-1598 or check