Among the objects relating to the early governance of the state are Connecticut’s original manuscripts of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and Articles of Confederation, a display of political signs and buttons, women’s suffrage banners and a voting booth from the early 20th century. Historic photographs and personal mementos linked with prominent Connecticut political figures include a photo of the legendary showman P.T. Barnum, who served several terms in the State legislature and as mayor of Bridgeport.
The military portion of “Connecticut Collections” contains flags, portraits, weapons, uniforms and memorabilia relating to Connecticut’s contribution to American military defense from the colonial wars to Desert Storm. The display of Civil War uniforms and weapons also includes an original diary and other mementos preserved by Connecticut soldiers in Andersonville prison. Also on display are service uniforms and equipment worn by Connecticut soldiers in the Spanish-American conflict, World Wars I and II, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War.
Connecticut’s important role in the story of American industry and manufacturing is a major focus of the museum collections. Early in its history, Connecticut was known for the precision manufacturing of firearms, clocks, hardware and tools. Examples of the products of Connecticut inventors and manufacturers such as Whitney, Colt, Terry, Winchester, Stanley and others are highlighted. “Connecticut Collections” also includes more recently made Connecticut products.