The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center preserves and interprets Stowe’s Hartford home and the Center’s historic collections, promotes vibrant discussion of her life and work, and inspires commitment to social justice and positive change.
When you visit the Stowe Center, don’t expect a traditional historic house museum! Expect a conversational, interactive tour where you can participate along with your guide.
Of course you’ll hear about everything that compelled Stowe to write her most famous novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin: her childhood, travels, marriage and family, and perhaps greatest of all, her courage.
But you’ll also connect the past to the present as you discuss 19th century social issues — such as slavery and the role of women — that resonate today in the form of racism, mass incarceration, immigration or equal pay.
You’ll see the beautifully preserved interiors of the National Historic Landmark — renovated in 2017 — alongside modern gallery spaces.
You’ll view rooms that reflect Stowe’s design choices and decorative arts as well as her own oil paintings. And you’ll explore exhibits that showcase the complicated and controversial legacy of “Uncle Tom” whose name became a racial slur.
We hope you’ll share your thoughts about issues Stowe cared about that resonate today.
Harriet Beecher Stowe’s life and work is an example of how one person can make a difference. You’ll leave feeling inspired that you can create positive change.
How did the Stowe Center re-imagine its tour experience?
The Stowe Center:
- Listened to visitors who said they wanted a more dynamic museum experience.
- Convened consultants, scholars and community members who helped push boundaries, challenge traditional notions, and realize a 21st century non-traditional tour.
- Set out to make Stowe’s story relevant to today and use her story to inspire people to action on issues they care about.
- Tested new tour elements with visitors and made changes based on feedback.
The Stowe Center offers more than just Stowe House tours:
Attend the annual Stowe Prize Day when the Stowe Center awards the Stowe Prize.
Join us for Salons at Stowe, community conversations on social justice issues rooted in 19th century issues Stowe supported.
View the calendar for book discussions, author talks and films that spur dialogue on issues facing our city, state and nation.
Check out our School Programs that explore Harriet Beecher Stowe and Uncle Tom’s Cabin, engage students in critical thinking and connect the past to the present. Students discover how one person can make a difference.
An important part of our mission is preserving Stowe’s Hartford home and historic collections. That’s an ongoing process, but in 2016-2017, the Stowe Center undertook major interior preservation of the 1871 National Historic Landmark.
The preservation project included a new climate control system, state-of-the-art fire suppression, renovation of historic windows, and conservation of significant works of art.
In addition, the home’s interior was completely redecorated based on both physical and written evidence of Stowe’s decorating choices. Worn carpeting, wallpaper, and paint, in place since 1968, were replaced with new historically accurate finishes. Gallery spaces and multi-media elements were added to enhance the visitor experience.
See it for yourself!