Weston history center exhibit highlights the 1920s

WESTON — Last year saw people moving to Connecticut in significant numbers, for a variety of reasons, including the state’s simultaneous small-town flavor and easy access to New York.

Turns out, what’s true of 2020 was true of 1920 as well, said Samantha Kulish-Fargione, executive director of the Weston History and Culture Center. At that time, she said, Weston was shifting away from becoming an agricultural society to become a refuge for people looking to escape the chaos of the city.

“People came to Weston from the city,” Kulish-Fargione said. “They found land was cheap, homes were cheap, but it was still this bucolic community.”

The Weston of the 1920s takes center stage in the Weston History and Culture Center’s new exhibit, “Weston Slept While the Nation Roared: Life in the Twenties,” which will run through September. The exhibit features clothing, art, music and other artifacts of the 1920s, as well as panels discussing what life was like in both Weston, and America in general, about 100 years ago.

“We started this project in September-October of 2019,” Kulish-Fargione said. “Knowing we were going to be 2020, we thought this would be a good time to explore 1920s in Weston.”

Originally, the plan was not so much to draw parallels between the past and the present as to celebrate some of the cultural evolution that took place in the 1920s, said Leslie D. Weiss, a trustee of the history and culture center, and a co-curator of the exhibit. She said the center recently hosted an exhibit about the 1960s, which sparked an interest in the 1920s.

“We were talking about all the changes in technology of the 1960s, and (realized that) the last time that happened was in the 1920s,” Weiss said.

Yet the exhibit does note some of the similarities between the 2020s and the 1920s. Weiss and Kulish-Fargione said the exhibit contains a panel spotlighting how, in the 1920s, the nation was emerging from a flu pandemic, just as the nation is now trying to wrestle free from the grasp of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s this image of Red Cross nurses wearing masks and tending to the sick,” Kulish-Fargione said. “We decided we wanted to have a panel the gives the public an idea of what life was like before the 1920s happened.”

The exhibit is on display from 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Thursdays and Sundays throughout the summer and by appointment. There is a suggeted donation of $5 per person. Admission is free for members of the Weston History and Culture Center.

For more information, contact info@westonhistoricalsociety.org, 203-226-1804 or visit www.westonhistoricalsociety.org.