The Danbury Museum & Historical Society Authority acquires, preserves, exhibits, and interprets Danbury's past. Situated in downtown Danbury, the museum preserves the John and Mary Rider House c.1785), the Dodd Hat Shop (c. 1790), the Marian Anderson Studio, the old King Street Schoolhouse, the Little Red Schoolhouse and the Charles Ives Birthplace. Huntington Hall, a modern exhibit building contains the museum offices and a research library.
The Danbury Museum and Historical Society has evolved out of efforts to preserve endangered historic properties. One of the City's oldest structures, the Rider House on Main Street, would have been demolished in 1941 to make way for a gas station had it not been for the intervention of concerned citizens (including the Mary Wooster DAR Chapter). After raising money to purchase this property, these citizens found the Danbury Historical and Arts Center.
A merger, in 1947, between the Scott-Fanton Museum and the Danbury Historical and Arts Center, saw the creation of the Danbury Scott Fanton Museum & Historical Society Inc. During the 1950s and 60s, the museum acquired the John Dodd Shop, the Ward House, the Charles Ives birthplace, two one room schoolhouses and erected Huntington Hall, where many of its exhibits have been displayed.
In 2004, the Museum was thrilled to add the Marian Anderson Studio to its collection. Famed opera singer Marian Anderson lived in Danbury for over 50 years. It was moved to the Main Street campus of the museum in 1999. Restoration of the studio was completed in early 2004. 2006 saw the merger of the Danbury Scott Fanton Museum with the City of Danbury and a new entity was born on July 1, 2008...the Danbury Museum and Historical Society Authority.