The Society accepts donations of objects and paper-based items that support its mission. This includes items made in, used in, or materials that reflect present-day or historic Shelton. Items concerning, or associated with, though not made or used in Shelton, may also be eligible for inclusion in the Society’s collections.
If you would like to donate an object to the Shelton Historical Society, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-925-1803.
The Shelton Historical Society maintains a small but effective library of local fiction, reference, and rare books as well as collections of photographs and archival resources. The vertical file holds over 11,000 paper-based items describing homes, organizations, politics, education, and more. Also included are genealogies of local families and newspaper clippings that characterize how life in Shelton has evolved.
Our library includes:
- maps showing the topography of the area, cemetery plots, and the development of Shelton as a manufacturing center
- documents, land deeds, and correspondence of residents and commercial establishments, like the Sidney Blumenthal Company
- store ledgers, daybooks, annual reports and city directories dating back to 1899, documenting the economy and city government as they once were
- manuscript collections of people like Anna Beard, the Brownson family, or the Tuckers, which give a glimpse into the lives of families who were raised in Shelton
- yearbooks, essays, diaries, and journals reflecting struggles, opinions, styles, and personal thoughts
Any of these resources are available for use on-site by appointment or through electronic transmission, when possible.
Material Culture Collection
The Material Culture Collection of the Society contains thousands of objects associated with Shelton’s history. These range in size from our historic buildings to one of the millions of pins made in Shelton. The Society’s collection includes pianos made in Shelton, as well as Wiffle balls and bats, Shelton Stroller dresses, sponges, nail clippers, and numerous baskets produced by the Shelton Basket Company. We also collect items associated with Shelton sites such as a concealment shoe found in the walls of a home; plows, saws, and other agricultural equipment used on local farms; a horse-drawn school bus, and many other items too numerous to list. The Society also has a significant collection of textile items such as samplers, linens, and other household accessories, as well as over 250 years of men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing.
The Society has a collection containing approximately 25,000 photographs of Shelton people, places, and events. Some highlights of this collection include daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes from the Civil War era; collodion carte de visite images (studio produced photographs mounted on cardboard) of numerous Shelton residents; residences from the 1880s and beyond; and aerial photographs of Shelton from the 1950s to a survey done in 2007.
Photographs are available to the public for on-site viewing by appointment.