June 2017 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Unveils New Interactive Tour

What better day than June 14--the birthday of author Harriet Beecher Stowe--to share this exciting literary tourism news: The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford, Connecticut, launched a new interactive tour of the writer's house this past weekend. According to a press release, "Throughout the National Historic Landmark home, velvet ropes and stanchions have been removed." You can literally immerse yourself in Stowe's salon. "In Stowe's parlor, visitors will sit to discuss 19th-century social justice issues just as Stowe did during her residence. In conversation with their guide, visitors will connect the past to the present, identifying issues that resonate today."

Stowe House exterior showing KSD copy.jpgStowe (1811-1896) is best known for her bestselling anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852). The Stowe Center is a museum and research library based in the home where she lived from 1873-1896 (incidentally, right next door to fellow author Mark Twain).

The Stowe House recently began an extensive, $3.3-million preservation project as well. So far, new climate controls, state-of-the-art fire suppression, and renovated historic windows have been installed. They are currently working on interiors, with custom-made carpeting, paint, and wallpapers reflecting Stowe's choices being readied for final placement this summer.  

"An important part of the Stowe Center's mission is preserving Stowe's home and historic collections," said Thomas Farrish, chair of the Stowe Center Board of Trustees. "After being open to the public since 1968, major capital improvements were essential to preserve the National Historic Landmark for generations to come."

Aside from the new tour and refurbished rooms, visitors can also see the table where Stowe wrote her famous bestseller, as well as the 1853 anti-slavery petition presented to her by the women of Great Britain--the 26-volume collection was signed by a half million women.

The Stowe House is open year-round. Check out its calendar of events and programs online.

Image credit: Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford, CT. Courtesy of the HBSC.