Our Museum & History
The Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society (NWH & WHHS) is located in the restored 18th-century birthplace and childhood home of Noah Webster, the creator of the first American dictionary and "Blue-Backed Speller", a teacher, lawyer and early abolitionist. The home was restored by the Noah Webster Foundation, a private 501(c)(3) organization, and opened to the public as a museum in the late 1960s. In 1970, the West Hartford Historical Society merged with the Foundation. Today, the museum building includes the historic house, the Jodik Education Center with a working reproduction open hearth, two exhibition galleries, a newly renovated Visitor Reception Center (VRC), and the Hamilton Gallery. The VRC includes a museum shop, a one-room schoolhouse theater, and a long-term exhibit on Noah Webster. The museum holdings also include a diverse collection of decorative arts, manuscripts, books, and ephemeral artifacts related to Noah Webster as well as to the local community.
Each year the Noah Webster House serves approximately 10,000 school children and thousands of general visitors from around the world. An important part of our school services is the many free-of-charge experiences that we offer to at-risk children. The Noah Webster House also provides numerous workshops, summer camps, and a history club for young people.
The museum also offers a broad range of family and adult programs, including the West Hartford History series which brings local historians and authors to the museum for a monthly lecture. Poetry readings, cemetery tours, kids events... the list goes on! Click here for our upcoming programs.
The museum has presented a variety of exhibits over the years. Recent changing exhibits include art by photographer Ray Lamoureux, painter Sylvia Davis Patricelli, and the semi-permanent Defining the Dictionary: The Story Behind the Words. In 2015, the museum launched 'At Home' in Noah's House, a complete tablet tour of the historic house.