One of West Hartford’s most unique treasures is the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society on South Main Street. The museum preserves the birthplace of Noah Webster, best known as the “Father of American English”.
Noah Webster was a lexicographer, educator, and prolific author of articles, political essays, and textbooks. The most notable was his Dictionary of the English Language and the American Spelling Book, widely known as “The Blue-Back Speller” because of its blue cover (and the origin for the name of the town’s Blue Back Square).
For a hundred years or more, Webster’s speller was the quintessential tool used to teach children to read, spell and pronounce words in a distinctly American voice. Webster was a Founding Father of American democracy, helped to establish an intellectual foundation for our fledgling nation, and left a rich heritage to the city of West Hartford and to the country.
Built in 1720, this National Historic Landmark is a repository for the history of West Hartford, the community that molded young Noah Webster’s life. Webster was born in the house in 1758 and lived there throughout his childhood and young adult years. The building was deeded to the town in 1962, opened in 1966 as a museum, and since 1970, has been the headquarters of the West Hartford Historical Society.
The House and Historical Society play an active role in the community culture of West Hartford. Executive Director Jennifer DiCola Matos states its mission is to ”preserve, interpret and champion Noah Webster’s birthplace and his legacy, as well as the evolving legacy of the town he loved.”
The museum is open Monday-Saturday, 1-4 p.m. Visitors enjoy a wide variety of activities, including tours, school and scout programs, a colonial life camp for kids, space for small business retreats or parties, and community events.
Some recent and upcoming events included the 7th annual Noah Webster Real Ale Harvest Fest and the popular West Hartford Hauntings, a series of spooky tours of the Old North Cemetery.
For more information visit Noahwebsterhouse.org.
Noah Webster House Fun Facts and Events:
The home was restored by the Noah Webster Foundation, a nonprofit, and opened to the public as a museum in the late 1960s. In 1970, the West Hartford Historical Society merged with the Foundation.
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.
Chosen as: West Hartford 2022 Non-Profit of the Year by West Hartford Chamber of Commerce
Recently opened: The West Hartford Gift Shop to showcase town-focused products from local artisans & small businesses.
Coming soon: The West Hartford History Center, a curated collection of historical items significant to the story of West Hartford