Dorrin K Mace, Horologost

Dorrin K Mace, Horologost
The Clock Man in a pensive moment

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The American Watch & Clock Museum

We have many people ask about clocks in museums.  A great place to go is the American Clock & Watch museum in Bristol ConnecticutThe main building, the Miles Lewis House, celebrated its bicentennial in 2001. Miles Lewis began construction of his homestead in 1801 and completed the house in 1802. The Bristol Clock Museum purchased and renovated the house in 1953. The original character and features of the post-Revolutionary War mansion house were retained during the restoration, except for the modification of the stairway for safety and the conversion of the carriage shed into an apartment for the caretaker.
The charitable organization, known as the Bristol Clock Museum, was formed on October 24, 1952 when eight local businessmen were invited by Edward Ingraham to the “Town Club” to discuss forming a museum. The Bristol businessmen decided to create a museum for the purpose of preserving the history, artifacts and memorabilia of the clock manufacturing industry that had once been so vital to this region. On April 10, 1954 the Bristol Clock Museum opened its doors to the general public. At the time of this opening there were about 300 clocks on display, virtually no watches and a fledgling library of 50 books. The museum is recognized as the first museum in America to be totally devoted to horology.
In 1958 the name of the organization was changed to The American Clock & Watch Museum, Inc. due to the enlarged scope of the collection and the growth of membership. Through the generosity of Fuller F. Barnes, the Ebenezer Barnes Memorial Wing was opened in 1956 and is constructed with the paneling from the 1728 Barnes homestead and the beams from the Lewis Lock Company factory in Terryville. Continued growth over the next thirty years made it necessary to further expand the museum and in 1987 the Ingraham Memorial Wing was added. The additional 3000 square feet has allowed for improved display and research capabilities, as well as enhanced accessibility for the physically challenged.
Today the museum houses the finest collection of American manufactured clocks on public display. There are over 1,500 clocks and watches on display including old advertising clocks, punch clocks, grandfather clocks, blinking-eye clocks, railroad clocks and even Hickory Dickory Dock clocks. The primary emphasis of the museum remains the Connecticut manufactured clock, and the museum’s collection is the world’s leading public display in this field. The museum is open to the general public from April 1st to November 30th, seven days a week, 10 AM - 5 PM (except Easter and Thanksgiving). Friendly hostesses greet visitors and volunteer docents are available to point out highlights of our collection and discuss Bristol’s fascinating history. The museum also has an authentic early American garden with sundial and period flowers and herbs, lovingly tended by the Bristol Garden Club.
The museum is a non-profit charity and is supported solely by private donations, a modest endowment, museum admissions and gift shop proceeds. The organization publishes a semi-annual newsletter and a semi-annual horological journal, reprints antique catalogs from the archival collections, holds seminars and gives off-site lectures.  You can obtain additional information at:
The American Watch & Clock Museum
100 Maple Street
Bristol, CT 06010

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