WETHERSFIELD — It’s almost exactly in the center of the state.
So, wherever you are coming from (and there is public transportation), there are options.
But once you get to Wethersfield, a place you might want to visit is the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, which will open the Buttolph-Williams House for public tours for the month of October.
Why is this significant?
Well, according to the museum folks, author Elizabeth George Speare, a resident of Wethersfield, “used the decidedly medieval-looking house (c.1711) as the setting for her Newbery Medal-winning book, ‘The Witch of Blackbird Pond.’”
Further, the book “is the basis for one of the most treasured education programs at WDS and has been read by generations of school children.”
Then, after a post on the WDS Facebook page about the Buttolph-Williams House drew “an overwhelming response” it became “clear that many adults remember the book, and the house, very fondly, inspiring the museum to open it up for the entire month.”
“Every year hundreds of students who have read the book take our ‘Witch of Blackbird Pond’ tour,” Acting Co-Director Cindy Riccio said in a release. “It’s a timeless classic, exploring ignorance, slavery, prejudice, and superstition, and it resonates with any child who has ever been bullied or singled out for being ‘different.’”
“Given the responses we’ve seen on Facebook, the book continues to appeal to adults, many of whom toured the house decades ago and expressed an interest in returning,” Riccio said, also in the release.
The museum shares that the book tells “the story of Kit, a newly orphaned young woman from Barbados, who arrives unannounced to live with relatives in Wethersfield. Considered an outsider, and different from other girls, she befriends the kind, elderly Hannah Tupper, who had been outlawed from the Massachusetts Colony for being a Quaker. As fellow outcasts, Kit and Hannah develop a deep bond, even after her uncle forbids the friendship. When a mob gathers to kill Hannah, the book becomes a tale of witchcraft and adventure, with honor, and the heroine, winning in the end.”
Witch of Blackbird Pond Tours will be offered at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and Sundays at 1 and 3 p.m. by advance registration. To register, contact Riccio at 860-529-0612, ext. 12, or email@example.com. Admission: nonmembers, $10; members, $7. Note: The tours include walking on uneven ground and the use of stairs. Facemasks are required and tours are limited to groups of six.
While you are there, you might want to check out the maps that illustrate the locations of events in “The Witch of Blackbird Pond.” The map was created by WDS guide and Wethersfield artist Phil Lohman at the request of former Wethersfield Town Librarian Laurel Goodgion, the release noted. The map and the book are available at the WDS Gift Shop.
The Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum manages the Buttolph-Williams House; which is owned by Connecticut Landmarks, the release also noted.