Way Back When … 1904
The Town of Fairfield was founded in 1639, but it wasn’t until 1904 that the Fairfield Historical Society appeared on the scene. The Society collected books, documents and works of art and culture related to the history of Fairfield. From the get-go, volunteers were an important part of the nonprofit organization.
Today, volunteers and docents still play a key role at the Fairfield Museum & History Center, which opened at its current 370 Beach Road location in 2007. The Museum trains local adults to become docents so they can learn the history of the area and pass it on to other area residents—from schoolchildren to adults.
Fairfield is fortunate to have many important pieces of its past in one central location. Within a short walk from the Town Green, visitors can find colonial homes, a burying ground, salt marshes, a Victorian cottage and barn, the Old Academy schoolhouse and Sun Tavern, where George Washington once slept.
Docents are volunteers who are trained to present guided tours, field trips and tours of Ogden House. Walter Matis, now employed as the program and volunteer coordinator at the Fairfield Museum, began working as a volunteer docent way back in the late 1980s. “What makes docents special,” he said, “is that they care about this community and are interested in sharing their passion for the Town of Fairfield with others.”
“Docents are a huge part of our educational programs,” said Christine Jewell, director of education at the Fairfield Museum. “We are planning several exciting new exhibitions in the Sun Tavern and Victorian Cottage and Barn for 2017, and docents will help us launch those areas next spring and summer.”
The next opportunity to be trained as a docent is coming up soon, on Friday, Sept. 30 from 10 a.m. to noon. Coffee and refreshments will be served. Pre-registration is required by calling Christine Jewell at (203) 259-1598 or emailing Education@fairfieldhs.org.
The year the Fairfield Historical Society began.