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Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum receives competitive grant

By Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum

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The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is expanding its successful Education Program with the support of a $5,000 competitive grant from the Fairfield County Community Foundation. With the support of the Fairfield County Community Foundation, the museum is hoping to expand its education program to include a greater population of students such as Norwalk’s middle and high school students within the Public School system, who are currently not an active part of the program.

The Education Program at the Mansion is managed with the assistance of committed volunteer educators and focuses primarily on 3rd and 5th graders in the greater Norwalk area. With increased support the museum is hoping to include 3rd, and 5th graders as well as middle and high school students from throughout Fairfield County.

“Education is an important part of what we do,” said Patsy Brescia, Chairman of the Board of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum. “This endorsement from FCCF will help us fulfill our mission of offering educational programs to a growing audience of students.”

The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum’s Education Program fosters an understanding and appreciation of Civil War history and Victorian era art and architecture through in-class curriculum and hands-on activities. LMMM’s docents start the program by visiting classrooms and introducing the Mansion to students, the visit is followed by a class visit to the museum for a docent-led tour that highlights the National Historic Landmark’s vibrant history, architectural details and artifacts that are part of the Museum’s collections.

This year’s Education Program is focused on mid-to-late 19th century inventions and the impact of those discoveries on the students’ lives today. Docents discuss with students life during the Victorian era and technological breakthroughs such as lighting, communication and transportation. Topics that relate to those inventions, such as power outages and the impact electricity has had on every day life, make a powerful connection between the Mansion’s history and current matters. Students also learn that the Mansion had more technological advances than President Abraham Lincoln’s White House during the Civil War, including indoor plumbing and a central heating system.

"It is so rewarding to see the students’ expressions of wonder and hear interesting questions raised as they walk through the museum’s rooms and exhibits,” says Susan Gilgore, Executive Director of the Museum. “This generous contribution from the Fairfield County Community Foundation will help us expand our educational tours and bring history to life for many students that have yet to have an opportunity to visit this wonderful National Historic Landmark.”

The Mansion’s 2013 Education Program is led by docents with decades of experience as educators in the public school system and a passion for history. Margaret Lopat, from Darien, CT, who has been instrumental in helping the Museum run its Education Program since 2009, holds a Masters of Science Degree from Southern Connecticut State College. Ms. Lopat will coordinate the expansion. Winky Reid joined the Museum as a student docent in 2011 and has been a teacher for 36 years. She began teaching in Norwalk in 1969 and worked in Elementary, Middle and High School. She holds a BA in psychology from Sacred Heart University and a Master's from Southern CT State College in Special Education.

About Fairfield County Community Foundation

The Fairfield County Community Foundation promotes the growth of community and regional philanthropy to improve the quality of life throughout Fairfield County. Individuals, families, corporations and organizations can establish charitable funds and contribute to existing funds. The Foundation provides philanthropic advisory services, and develops and leads initiatives to tackle critical community issues. It is in compliance with the Council on Foundations’ national standards for community foundations. The Foundation has awarded over $151 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond. For more information, visit www.fccfoundation.org.

The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum’s 2013 cultural and educational programs are made possible by generous funding from the LMMM Distinguished Benefactors: The Xerox Foundation, Klaff’s, Mrs. Cynthia C. Brown and The Maurice Goodman Foundation. The Museum’s Education Program is made possible in part by a generous donation from AT&T. The exhibit What Is It? Technologies and Discoveries of the Victorian Era is made possible in part by generous funding from the Connecticut Humanities.

The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is located at 295 West Avenue in Norwalk. Tours are offered Wednesdays through Sundays, at noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. For more information on tours and programs, visit www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com, e-mail
info@lockwoodmathewsmansion.com, or call 203-838-9799. For those who are interested in pursuing a docent volunteer opportunity please contact Joy Romeo, LMMM Volunteer Coordinator at 203-838-9799 ext. 19 or jromeo@lockwoodmathewsmansion.com.

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