This is an archived article. For the latest news, go to the Advance Homepage
For more archives, go to the Advance Archive/Search Page.

  February 4, 2002

Exploring State History Made Easy Online

Where do you go to find a portrait of an African-American child in 19th-century Connecticut? A drawing of Hartford in 1836?

A photograph of the Flood of 1936? The Charter Oak? Connecticut's textile industry?

A new website makes it easy to search for these and other Connecticut people, places and events from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The site, available at, was officially launched on Jan. 24.

Besides thousands of images, the site also includes 11 Journeys, interpretative photo-essays that explore themes from Connecticut history, and a Classroom Section to introduce teachers and students to Connecticut History Online as a tool for discovery and understanding .

A sample Journey on the textile industry in Connecticut provides a brief written commentary, together with selected images from the database. The Journey features a photograph of the oldest silk mill in America, early prints and drawings of mills in Glastonbury and Rockville from the 1830s and 1850s, and information on silk production in Manchester. Subtopics include Stages of Textile Production, Child Labor, Immigrant Workers, and Housing for Factory Workers.

Other Journeys explore diversity and ethnic origins, women in the workplace, maritime trades, rural life, natural disasters, and Connecticut's wartime contributions from the Civil War through World War II.

At the end of each Journey, Guideposts help users to locate additional images on related subjects in the main database.

The Classroom Section contains activities and lesson plans developed by and for teachers for use with students. This section is meant to encourage the use of visual materials in research, as well as to introduce the rich content of Connecticut History Online.

One lesson plan introduces students to two early 20th-century Connecticut families, one African- American and one Anglo-American, so that they may develop an appreciation of the similarities and differences in their lives. Each lesson plan suggests appropriate grade levels, time requirements, homework ideas, student work packets, and information for teachers.

Connecticut History Online offers a wide range of search functions. Broad searches may turn up thousands of images of Hartford and hundreds of images of many smaller towns. Refined searches allow users to zero in on specific subjects, such as covered bridges, New Haven oyster dealers, or Chinese students in Connecticut during the 1870s.

The search options include a powerful GeoLocator, developed by the University's Map and Geographic Information Center, that allows a user to click on a map of the state and zoom in to locate images of a specific town or street.

Connecticut History Online is a collaborative project of the Connecticut Historical Society, the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, and Mystic Seaport. Funding was provided by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Issue Index