Westport Museum kicks off outdoor programming

WESTPORT — A sunny May Day saw an outdoor spring market at the Westport Museum.

Cosponsored by the Westport Garden Club, Saturday’s event featured several local vendors and offered visitors a chance to just get outside, enjoy the spring day and a quantity of socially distanced community.

“This is to kick off our summer programming, which is going to be entirely outside,” said Ramin Ganeshram, executive director.

“While we’re starting to come out of the woods with COVID, we’re not completely there,” she said.

The garden club was also offering presales at the Spring Market for its upcoming annual plant sale scheduled on May 14, having had to skip last year’s event.

“We were so pleased to be able to partner with them,” said Pat Nave, club president. “We think this is a great event … and we’re enjoying a beautiful day.”

Ganeshram said there were a number of new initiatives being offered this summer through the museum, including several new walking tours and a virtual driving tour of the town that amounts to a 21st century version of the historic Jennings Trail.

“This is the updated version,” she said. “We’re hoping newcomers — and there are so many — will learn about local and regional history.”

The historic building at 25 Avery Place that houses the museum, also known as the Coley-Bradley-Wheeler House, will not be open to the public, at least through the summer.

“We’re not going to physically open the building until the fall,” Ganeshram said.

Ganeshram said the 1860 building needs a major structural assessment, as well as not being suited to the kind of cross-ventilation that COVID concerns necessitate.

“It’s such an old building,” she said.

Meanwhile, the museum is planning a quality overhaul of its extensive archives, which Ganeshram explained are plentiful but not easily accessible for scholars or the public.

“The goal (is) that all of our material will finally be cataloged in the manner of an accredited research institution,” she said.