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The Danbury Museum Main Street campus is home to four historic buildings: the John & Mary Rider House (1785), the John Dodd Hat Shop (1790), the Little Red Schoolhouse, and the Marian Anderson Studio. These buildings are available for FREE guided tours this summer! The tour lasts roughly 1 hour, please note that these buildings are NOT air conditioned.
All visitors will be admitted free of charge through Saturday, September 25, 2021. It's our way of welcoming everyone back to the Danbury Museum. Book your tour for
1pm Fridays or Saturdays in September on Eventbrite.
There is no photography or videography allowed on the sites operated by the Danbury Museum.
The Danbury Museum is happy to make arrangements for visitors to photograph and conduct videography, by appointment, inside our historic structures and, also by appointment, outside on museum grounds at the discretion of the Executive Director.
The Danbury Museum is a limited public forum, which means that visitors, volunteers and staff of the museum expect to have the right to visit and work at the museum undisturbed and in accordance with the purposes for which the museum was created and intended.
Look for these yard signs in front of the buildings on our campus and use your smartphone to learn a little Danbury history 7 days a week! Guided tours of our historic buildings will be available by appointment only, Wednesday - Saturday, beginning June 30, 2021.
The John & Mary Rider House is the Danbury Museum’s signature historic structure. The house that previously stood on this property, the home of Jonah Benedict, was destroyed by fire when the British troops raided Danbury on April 26, 1777.
The property was bought from the Benedicts and this home was constructed in 1785.
The Rider House was saved from destruction by the combined efforts of the Daughters of the American Revolution and other concerned citizens.
The Danbury Museum showcases multiple aspects of Colonial-era and 19th century life within the Rider House and it has been a favorite part of school field trips for many years.
Guided tours of the Rider House and all four historic buildings are available by appointment, Wednesday - Sunday, beginning in June 30, 2021.
The John Dodd Hat Shop was built in 1790 and was originally two doors south of the Rider House on Main Street.
The Hat Shop is typical of small concerns that would have lined Towne Street (modern day Main Street) in the 18th century. John Dodd used it as a law office.
In 1958, the building was moved to its current spot to make way for a grocery store. To honor Danbury’s heritage as a hat making center, the Dodd Hat Shop contains a hatting exhibit and many hats and hatting-related artifacts.
Guided tours of our historic buildings are available by appointment only, Wednesday - Saturday, beginning June 30.
The Little Red Schoolhouse is a reproduction of a typical one-room schoolhouse found in the greater Danbury area during the 18th and early 19th centuries. Bricks from the old Balmforth Avenue school were used to construct our building.
The Schoolhouse houses artifacts that relate to education history and early American schooling in Danbury and is an integral part of our school field trips as well as our summer camp programming.
In 1943 Marian Anderson and her husband Orpheus Fisher bought a farm on Joe’s Hill Road in Danbury.
They named their property Marianna Farm and remained there for many years. Mr Fisher, an architect, built this studio for his wife where she could sing and rehearse.
After her husband’s death in 1986, Ms Anderson continued to live at Marianna Farm until 1992, a year before her death in 1993.
In 1993 the Studio was donated to the Danbury Museum and it was rehabilitated and opened to the public in 2005.
The Charles Ives Birthplace is currently closed to the public due to ongoing routine maintenance efforts. We completed Phase I, exterior updates, in 2016.
Follow the path of the Museum in the Streets and take a walk through Danbury’s downtown Historic District. Along the way, thirty-four history panels cover a variety of topics and and tell the fascinating story of Danbury! Download the map below.
Guided Walking Tours of the Downtown Historic District Available
Looking for a unique, fascinating and active program for your school group, club, civic organization, workplace team, or class reunion group?
Led by Danbury Museum Executive Director and City Historian, Brigid Guertin, you'll hear city tales, see historic buildings, and learn more about local history.
These tours must be booked two weeks in advance and are based on availability and by appointment only. $200 per group and limited to 10 people.
All proceeds benefit The Danbury Museum & Historical Society.
Jack Stetson's The Life and Times of the Great Danbury State Fair is THE complete history of everyone's favorite fair. This book is available in the museum's gift shop and like all the books featured here can be ordered over the phone by calling 203-743-5200.