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Hill-Stead Museum welcomes prized car back home

By Hill-Stead Museum

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FARMINGTON, CT - Classic car enthusiasts and history buffs alike won’t want to miss Hill-Stead Museum’s Packard Party on Saturday, June 9, 2012 from 10 am – 4 pm. For the first time in over 50 years, Theodate Pope Riddle’s prized 1912 Packard Victoria will be back home for a very special day as part of the museum’s 65th anniversary year celebrations. The Packard Victoria was Theodate’s first car, a birthday gift from her parents that she kept her entire life. The car was sold in 1959, lovingly restored and eventually became part of the impressive automobile collection of the Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich, MA, which has generously loaned the Packard to Hill-Stead for this special occasion.

Packard owners from across New England will also be exhibiting their classic beauties at the party. From 1903, Packard defined the epitome of elegance and style in American automobiles. On view will be examples from the golden age of motoring— guests can stroll the grounds and talk with the owners, enjoy a panel discussion about Packard and classic car care and restoration, history, and other fascinating information, view automobile memorabilia from the museum’s archives and learn a bit about the other luxury automobiles once owned by the Pope and Riddle families.

Admission at the gate is $15 for adults, $8 for children age 6-12; this allows access to the classic cars, panel discussion and a visit inside the historic house. Food will be available for purchase.

A National Historic Landmark and an Official Project of Save America’s Treasures, Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, CT, is a stop on the Connecticut Art Trail and a member of Connecticut’s Historic Gardens. The 1901 period rooms, boasting Impressionist masterpieces and original furnishings, are open for tours Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am – 4 pm. The last tour of the day begins at 3 pm. Grounds are open daily 7:30 am-5:30 pm. For tour and program information, browse www.hillstead.org or call 860.677.4787.

Hill-Stead is noted for its 1901 33,000-square-foot house filled with art and antiques, all displayed in their original, intimate family setting. Pioneering female architect Theodate Pope designed the grand house, set on 152 hilltop acres, to showcase the Impressionist masterpieces amassed by her father, Cleveland iron industrialist Alfred A. Pope. Collections include original furnishings, paintings by Monet, Degas, Manet, Whistler and Cassatt, as well as numerous works on paper and Japanese woodblock prints. Stately trees, seasonal gardens, meadows, over three miles of stone walls and blazed hiking trails accent the grounds. A centerpiece of the property is the c. 1920 Sunken Garden designed by landscape architect Beatrix Farrand, today the site of the renowned Sunken Garden Poetry Festival.

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