Museum recreates Westport’s history out of gingerbread

WESTPORT — Westport Museum for History and Culture is set unveil its newest exhibit, a gingerbread village of Westport’s past and present, on Saturday during the second annual outdoor holiday market.

Executive Director Ramin Ganeshram said the idea for the gingerbread exhibit was sparked by the overall goal of finding new and interesting access points to get people interested in history.

“Everything that we do here is to try to get people interested in history and more than that, get people interested in the truth of history — the stories that aren’t told,” Ganeshram said.

She said that when people think about history they think about being in school, remembering dates on a timeline, however, the museum looks for “stealthy” ways to introduce people to history.

In this year’s exhibit, the gingerbread village does exactly that. The gingerbread landscape features replicas of all historic buildings in Westport, two of which have been torn down. One is a former hospital and the other is the Green Farms Meeting House which once stood on the Sherwood Island Connector and was burned down by the British in 1779 during the American Revolutionary War.

“Even though you’re going to come and look at these cute little buildings, they all have a story behind them,” she said.

The gingerbread exhibit was created with the help of many volunteers including Staples High School students Lucia Wang, Sebastian Malino and Scarlett Siegel, Staples alum Sami D'Anna, Oberlin College student Zach Terillion and Northwestern University student Samantha Webster.

Ganeshram said that the plan for the exhibit will be to add a new building to their creation of the village each year.

“Last year’s market was a great success, and this year will be even better now that the museum is open again,” Ganeshram said. “Visitors will get to enjoy all of our great local vendors as well as our new exhibits including two holiday-themed displays. Best of all, Santa Claus will be on hand to visit with young and old.”

The event will take place downtown on the museum’s grounds at 25 Avery Place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The free event is part of the museum’s December-long Holly Days programming, sponsored this year by Westport’s Lyons Plain Architecture & Design.