McQuilkin began writing poems as a boy as a way to express himself at Christmas celebrations in a family rich in musical talent that he did not share. He went on to attend Princeton University and Harvard Law School and teach English at Phillips Academy in Massachusetts and Miss Porter's School in Farmington.
The house collection includes 5,000 pieces of decorative art objects, antique furniture, period costumes and tools to give visitors a view of what life was like in a 17th- to 19th-century New England town.
When biologist Paul Rego joined the wildlife division of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in 1986, black bears were scarcer than orange in a St. Patrick’s Day parade. If Rego ran into one wayward bruin every three years, that was a lot.
“I know I will have support from the board to hold potential rotating exhibitions here on the property,” says Ballek. “I think there will be a lot of interest from the community. There are a number of outbuildings that might be used as exhibition space.
Tostmann joins fellow German wanderers Ulrich Birkmaier — the museum’s chief conservator, and Vanessa Sigalas, a research fellow for European art and decorative arts. “The fact that there are three Germans here helps me to be less concerned about my strong accent,” Tostmann says jokingly.
“It stops people in their tracks when they come in,” says Pearlson. “They recognize that it’s an image of a brain and they’re immediately drawn in. The tiles seem to change hues as the work is viewed from different angles, which gives the work a dynamic quality.
And it worked. Over the past five years, the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford has built on its foundation as a National Historic Landmark home to become a literary center of innovation and renown, presenting talks by writers as varied as Judy Blume and Stephen King.
The backdrop, of course, is that the Hartford Whalers no longer exist. The organization slunk out of town 17 years ago this coming April 13, or “That Day,” as it is referred to by booster club members.