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Norwalk's History Stays in Step With Development of Photography

Photographers of the past documented events that are now part of Norwalk history. The new exhibit at the Norwalk Historical Society Museum explores the history of photography vis a vis the history of Norwalk. Photo Credit: Carolyn Mueller
A new exhibit at the Norwalk Historical Society Museum will open with a reception Wednesday at 6 p.m. Photo Credit: Carolyn Mueller

NORWALK, Conn. -- The Norwalk Historical Society Museum will host an opening reception Wednesday for its new exhibit, "Self and the World: Experiencing Photography in 19th Century Norwalk."

The exhibit, curated by Elizabeth Bloom Avery with graphic design by Scott Kuykendall, takes visitors on a journey through the development of photography in the second half of the 19th century. This coincided with a period of growth in Norwalk’s economy and population, according to a release form the Norwalk Historical Society.

Norwalkers embraced photography in all of its forms as it evolved. The exhibit includes never-before-seen daguerreotypes, family portraits, cartes de visite photographs, plate glass negatives and an original early Kodak camera, which helps tell the story of the early age of photography and its influence on the people of Norwalk, the release said.

On display will be 19th-century stereoscopes (stereo viewers), which were America’s most popular form of entertainment in the late 1800s and 1900s.

Visitors will have an opportunity to touch and view stereo cards through a 21st-century stereoscope.

The role of the photographer is also celebrated in the exhibit, including female amateur photographer Ada Betts, African-American photographer Augustus Washington and American Civil War photographer Edward Tompkins Whitney.

Additionally, visitors will be able to experience the museum's other exhibits, which include  "Norwalk Collects: Celebrating Four Historic Collections; Eating off the Landscape: The Farrington Lockwood Dessert Service," curated by Elizabeth Pratt Fox; and "Norwalk: Portrait of Diversity," with photography by the late Tony Velez.

The gift shop will be open and features one-of-a-kind, handcrafted items by Connecticut artists. 

Curator Elizabeth Bloom Avery is a recent addition to Norwalk. At universities throughout the Midwest, she taught the History of Photography, Urbanism and Film Studies. She co-curated an exhibition of contemporary art at the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art in Chicago.

In Norwalk, she researches historic buildings for the Norwalk Historical Society and serves as a docent for the Norwalk Arts Commission. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Carleton College and a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Chicago.

The reception will be from 6-7:30 p.m. RSVP to

For additional information about the event, visit, email or call 203-846-0525.

The Norwalk Historical Society Museum is at 141 East Ave., Norwalk. Parking is available at Norwalk City Hall, 125 East Avenue.

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