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Lecture Series

Stories from the Park - 2023 Lecture Series

Thames River Heritage Park  2023 winter lecture series, “Stories from the Park” was held at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum from January – April, 2023. In the six-part series, Connecticut authors talked about significant local history and culture. The talks focused on local Gilded Age newsmakers, Revolutionary War turncoat and Norwich native Benedict Arnold, the Jackson family, whose members were enslaved in New London during the colonial period, and other subjects topical to Connecticut audiences. The lectures were on Wednesday evenings from 6 – 8:30 p.m. at the Lyman Allyn and via Zoom. Those attending in-person had an opportunity to meet the authors, purchase books and have them signed. Light hors d’oeuvres and wine was served during the reception. 

Thames River Heritage Park Foundation relies on members like you and donations from people like you to bridge the gap between grants, sponsorships, and ticket sales to present rich and stimulating programming and to support the authentic navy utility boats that connect the heritage sites on both sides of the Thames River. Your donation to support the lecture series and other programs in support of Thames River Heritage Park keeps these programs alive and is greatly appreciated.

Morton Plant: Gilded Age Gossip, Giving and the (income) Gap
Gail MacDonald, Journalist and Author
Wednesday, 1/4/2023 | 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Lyman Allyn Art Museum

Wealthy families in the Gilded Age were local celebrities, subjects of gossip and intense interest. Their activities and charitable interests supported the local community. They also lived in a time and functioned in a system of great disparities – when the poor and disaffected were often powerless and without voice.

A veteran, award-winning journalist and author of two local history books, Gail MacDonald is also a journalism professor at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.

Seating is limited and registration is required. 

Love and Brutality: The Mysterious Saga of Gallows Road.
Lisa Brownell, Author
Wednesday, 1/25/23 | 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Lyman Allyn Art Museum

Inspired by true events in 1750s New London, Gallows Road is told through the voice of a 17-year-old servant who becomes entangled in the events surrounding an infant”s mysterious death. 

A fiction writer and editor, “Gallows Road” is her first novel. She is a former media director for Mystic Seaport Museum and director of publications for Connecticut College.

Seating is limited and registration is required. 

For Adam’s Sake: A Family Saga in Colonial New England
Allegra DiBonaventura, Author
Wednesday, 2/15/23 | 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Lyman Allyn Art Museum

The book traces the lives of the powerful and powerless in Colonial New London, including diarist Joshua Hempsted and his family, the powerful Winthrops and the Jacksons, most of whom spent their lives as enslaved persons.

Associate dean for graduate academic support at Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.”For Adam’s Sake” was awarded the New England Historical Association James. P. Hanlan book award.

Seating is limited and registration is required. 

Homegrown Terror: Benedict Arnold and the Burning of New London
by Eric Lehman, Author
Wednesday, 3/8/23 |  6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Lyman Allyn Art Museum

The biography of America’s most notorious traitor, Norwich native Benedict Arnold, Homegrown Terror also depicts life in Revolutionary War-era New London and tells the story of Arnold’s attack on New London and Groton in September 1781.

Professor of creative writing at the University of Bridgeport, Lehman also is the author or editor of 20 books, including works of non-fiction and fiction.

Seating is limited and registration is required. 

Spooky Trails and Tall Tales Connecticut: Hiking the State’s Legends, Hauntings, and History
Stephen Gencarella, Author
Wednesday, 3/29/2023 | 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Lyman Allyn Art Museum

Behind the quaint facade of Connecticut’s small towns lurk legends and tales of ghosts and buried treasures. Hear these stories and learn about the places where they originated and even get practical information of how to visit and maybe experience a ghostly legend firsthand.

An associate professor of communication at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Stephen’s research focuses on the historical and contemporary folklore of New England.

Seating is limited and registration is required. 

Earth and Sky: Nature Meditations in Word and Watercolor 
Judy Benson, Journalist and Author
Roxanne Steed, Illustrator
Wednesday, 4/19/2023 | 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Lyman Allyn Art Museum

Beautiful essays and painting the provide insights into the wonders of nature in southeastern Connecticut.

Communications coordinator at Connecticut Sea Grant, Judy Benson is the editor of the award-winning magazine Wrack Lines. Roxanne Steed is a painter of well-loved places, a traveler, gardener, nature lover and teacher.

Seating is limited and registration is required. 

View more Stories from the Park on Thames River Heritage Park’s YouTube channel.

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