Hartford’s Wadsworth Atheneum, the Old State House and the Hartford Public Library are offering a series of self-guided walking tours showcasing the art and history hiding in plain sight in the capital city.
“Sculpture in the City” aims to make people aware of the art and history all around them on Hartford’s Main Street and beyond. People can choose a self-guided walking tour, like the Old State House’s Revolutionary Hartford tour, which begins at the Old State House, then proceeds to the statue of Nathan Hale on the grounds of the Wadsworth Athenuem, the Ancient Burying Ground on Gold Street, and finishes at Bushnell Park and statues of Connecticut Revolutionary War heroes Israel Putnam and Colonel Thomas Knowlton, as well as the French aristocrat Marquis de Lafayette. Online resources provide information at each stop.
In addition, the Wadsworth has installed new placards near the iconic outdoor sculptures on or near the grounds of the Atheneum, like Alexander Calder’s massive Stegosaurus, giving details about the work. QR codes on the signs link the visitor to even more information online.
Thomas Loughman is the director and CEO of the Wadsworth Atheneum. He said the pandemic has presented a unique opportunity for the museum to celebrate Hartford and its cityscape.
“If downtown Hartford is known for anything, it’s for being a cultural core. It’s for being a place of great institutions and great energy,” said Loughman. “That we could find some way to do something positive, that we could channel our energies and say, 'Well OK, this is a tangible thing that we can really do.”
The works range from the Revolutionary War era to modern-day, and reflect many styles of sculpture. The museum has also added outdoor art talks and performances to the program.
The Wadsworth is currently closed to the public, but plans to reopen with limited hours starting Labor Day weekend.