The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development has chosen The Wood Memorial Library and Museum to receive $75,000 in funding through its pilot Good to Great Program designed for small to mid size non-profit cultural organizations. DECD received 46 applications from 29 towns and of those, 20 projects were recommended for award by the Culture and Tourism Advisory Committee and the Commissioner, Wood’s project being one of them. The funding comes with a matching cash requirement.
The Wood’s grant proposal, written and submitted by Board President Virginia Macro, focuses on the installation of a small Native American village on a c. ¾ acre parcel of land behind the library building. The project includes the construction of wigwams, ethno-botanical plantings and landscaping along with interpretive signs for self-guided tours of the area and enhanced interpretative materials for Wood’s existing Native American exhibits. Currently, a small makeshift frame of a wigwam exists, but can only be used in fair weather and is not big enough for anyone to enter. Transforming the area into a village setting, with wigwams large enough to sit in, will add a realistic element to understanding the Native American experience and an opportunity to connect artifacts to how life was lived at the time.
“The re-creation of a Podunk village behind the library would transform a visitor’s experience from one of having a vague impression of what life might have been like, to one of feeling the atmosphere of living in a wigwam,” says Macro. “That slight shift in one’s perception of space and time makes an enormous difference. Being able to offer that immersive experience, not as a visitor in a museum looking at a Podunk village but by becoming an actor in it, will afford a deeper appreciation of Native American ingenuity in their day-to-day life.”
The Wood’s prime location, situated adjacent to the South Windsor meadows on the original Podunk Path and a stone’s throw from the site of Adrian Block’s first encounter with the indigenous population, provides the perfect environment for Native American programming. The tribes who lived for centuries along the Connecticut River, left traces of their existence in the meadows they called home making South Windsor a fertile source of Native American artifacts. Many of those artifacts have found their way into the museum’s collections and for over forty years The Wood has offered lectures and hands-on programs for children and adults on the life ways of Northeast Woodland Tribes based on those artifacts.
“Our overall intent in regard to our Native American programming is to provide an accurate portrayal of the Podunk and River tribes that lived along the Connecticut River,” says Executive Director, David Langone. “We feel that this funding and the creation of a Native American village will bring us closer to achieving that objective.”
For additional information on how you can donate to this project please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 860-289-1783.