The Butler-McCook House & Garden, the only 18th-century home still remaining on Hartford’s Main Street, is a time capsule of Hartford’s past and the history of one family. Rather than displaying this house at a single moment in its past, Connecticut Landmarks preserves the house with all the changes that took place over time.
After a self-guided tour of The Main Street History Center’s exhibition, “Witnesses on Main Street,” visitors are taken on a guided tour of the house that primarily focuses on the McCook family during the late19th century and discusses the family’s artistic and intellectual interests. Guests will learn about a family who loved music, art, and travel through explorations of the museum’s collections which include paintings, Japanese samurai armor, furniture, and toys.
Specialty House Tours
• Amazing Ladies: Meet the Women of the Butler-McCook Family
Come and meet the amazing women of the Butler-McCook family! This tour highlights the accomplishments of a family of talented women using their writings, paintings, and needlework. Family members featured include: Lydia Royse, one of Hartford’s most important educators during the early 19th century, who opened a female academy in 1799 to support herself and her young daughter; Eliza Butler McCook, a talented artist, who spent two and a half years on a European Grand Tour; Eliza McCook Roots who went to China at age 30 as a missionary and spent the rest of her life in that country.
• Portraits, Paintings, and Landscapes: Discovering the McCooks’ Art Collection
The Butler-McCook House boasts an amazing collection of paintings. Mostly assembled by the McCook family during the 19th century, the collection includes original works of art, paintings by talented family members, and copies of famous European masters. This tour analyzes individual pieces in the McCook collection, as well as discusses the practice of buying and displaying art in the 19th century. Highlights include: Olevano, a landscape by German artist, Albert Bierdstadt, of the Italian countryside; three landscape paintings by Michigan-born artist William Wheeler, who lived in Hartford for over 30 years; family portraits; and copies of European masters created by Eliza Butler McCook on her European Grand Tour.
• Discovering the World: The McCook’s World Travels
Travel back in time with the Butlers and the McCooks and learn about trips that took the family to Europe, China, Japan, Africa, and throughout the United States. Drawing upon journal entries, sketches, copies of paintings and objects made and collected, the tour not only informs visitors about a popular nineteenth-century custom (The Grand European Tour), but also inspires us to create our own current-day European itinerary based upon the family’s experiences. Tour participants will hear about the family’s exciting travels and view rarely seen archival material. Travel diaries and trip photographs will be included in the tour.
To book an adult group tour at the Butler-McCook House & Garden, or to receive more information please contact the Site Administrator at 860-522-1806 or email@example.com. House and walking tours cost $7.00 per person, $5.00 per person for groups of 10 or more. Bus tours are priced at $200 per group, for groups up to 25 participants, or $8 per person for groups of 26-40 (exclusive of bus and driver).