The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center’s mission is to encourage social justice and literary activism by exploring the legacy of Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Our vision is a world in which engagement leads to empathy, empowerment, and change for good.
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. And afterward, we hope you’ll share your thoughts about the tour experience!
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.
Seeing is Revealing: Nook Farm Then and Now is an innovative new walking tour, created by the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, as a self-guided downloadable audio tour.
The tour introduces visitors to Harriet Beecher Stowe and her neighbors in Nook Farm, the place that they called home. On this block in Hartford, you see preservation history and architecture alongside a vibrant, busy and ever-changing city. On tour we expand the timeline out of Harriet’s era and into today. Visitors will walk and learn about landscape design, urban planning, economic, and creative trends in Hartford throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. The tour will answer interesting questions: how were decisions made about what remains and what has been replaced? What is the preservation story? How did this neighborhood evolve? What histories are told, and what histories are hidden in this place? Seeing is Revealing discusses social disparities and parities that impact what visitors experience now in the Asylum Hill neighborhood.
Length: 60-minute tour
$0 for Hartford residents and children under 6
$15 for self-guided audio tour
Visitors planning this walk should wear comfortable shoes, outdoor clothing, and be prepared for standing for 60 minutes, although the tour does include places to sit along the way.
Programs at Stowe continue the themes and ideas of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s life and writings in a variety of program types and for a number of audience interests. Salons at Stowe are offered a few times a year, as well as onsite and virtual programs that are designed to inspire visitors to find their own creative inclinations, to explore contemporary writers working in the tradition of Stowe, and to explore issues of social justice relating to the 19th century and today. Visit our calendar and Multimedia Gallery to learn more about what we are doing next, and what has been documented to date. Sign up for our E-blast today to keep up to date on all our ongoing offerings.
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!
The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center has a vibrant multi-media gallery on our website where there are a number of videos and podcasts documented from our public programming offerings. The Center is always adding content here so check back regularly. As a result of the COVID pandemic and the transition to virtual, many of the FUTURE Stowe Center programs will be available for remote audiences so join our E-blast list to learn more. We also have a 20-minute video in the multi-media gallery that allows online users to learn a bit about Harriet Beecher Stowe, the tour, collections, and her home from remote.
The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center also has an active and informative social media presence on
Share what you’re doing to change the world using the hashtag #StoweInspired.