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September 9 @ 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm


FREE EVENT! UNITY interactive public art project – Storytelling – Drumming – Community Expo – Kindness Rocks – Food & Supplies Drive – Tours

In celebration of Welcoming Week, you’re invited to this free event to help build a nation of neighbors! Welcoming Week is an annual international campaign and celebration showcasing the work of communities striving to be more welcoming places for all, including immigrants and refugees. The Whitfield House was built in 1639 as the home of Guilford’s first minister as well as a fort for the new settlement of about 350 Puritans fleeing religious persecution in England. While Puritans were religious refugees, they were often not welcoming to those with differing views or those they thought of as inferior. Here at the museum, we’re committed to Welcoming Week’s goal of building a nation of neighbors. WelcomeFest is a free event open to everyone where we learn about cultures different from our own, celebrate our similarities and differences, and foster mutual understanding and deeper belonging for all.

WelcomeFest includes:

  • UNITY interactive public art project: UNITY is a circular arrangement of 32 poles and each pole is labeled with an identifier (for example: “I am a parent,” “I have Asian ancestors,” or “I identify as LGBTQ”). With yarn, participants tie to each pole with which they identify. A canopy of interconnectedness forms as more people participate. In the end, this project celebrates the uniqueness of individuals while at the same time illustrating how we are all connected by something. UNITY will stay on the museum’s front lawn throughout Welcoming Week, September 9-17.
  • Storytelling by Sara deBeer at 1 pm: “Tales of Deep-Rooted Magic” features stories from cultures around the world, tales of the magic which waits for those who venture into the woods, into the wilds, into the deep, dark forest. Sara’s lively storytelling is suitable for listeners of all ages and includes audience participation to keep the youngest listeners involved.
  • Drumming with Mark Zarrillo at 2 pm: Participants are encouraged to join the rhythm while Mark shares his rich knowledge of West African music and culture to create community.
  • Community expo: Local and state organizations share their work that creates welcoming communities for the benefit of all residents. Expo participants include Integrated Refugee and Immigration Services, Connecticut Freedom Trail, Connecticut Minority & Women’s History, Ethnic Heritage Center, Witness Stones Project, Dudley Farm Museum, Hyland House Museum, Guilford Social Services, and Guilford Human Rights Commission.
  • Kindness rocks: Participants paint kindness rocks to keep, share with someone who needs some inspiration, or leave somewhere to brighten the finder’s day. All supplies are provided.
  • Food & supplies drive: Visitors are encouraged to bring donations of non-perishable food and supplies to benefit the Guilford Food Bank. For the most up-to-date list of the Food Bank’s current needs, visit
  • Free tours: The museum’s Whitfield House, Visitor Center, and Education Building are open for self-guided tours.

WelcomeFest takes place rain or shine. For more information, call 203-453-2457, e-mail, or visit Admission is free and there is free parking. The Henry Whitfield State Museum is located at 248 Old Whitfield Street in Guilford, Connecticut.

Support for WelcomeFest has been provided to the Henry Whitfield State Museum through a Connecticut Cultural Fund Operating Support grant from Connecticut Humanities, with funding provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts from the Connecticut State Legislature.

About Welcoming Week
Welcoming Week is an annual campaign and celebration to showcase the movement of communities striving to be more welcoming places for all, including immigrants and refugees. Launched in 2012 by Welcoming America and its members, Welcoming Week provides individuals and communities the opportunity to proclaim welcoming values through events and local initiatives that foster mutual understanding between immigrants and non-immigrants, as well as deeper belonging for all.

About Welcoming America
Welcoming America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that leads a movement of inclusive communities becoming more prosperous by ensuring everyone belongs. Through the Welcoming Network, we work to change systems and culture by providing communities the roadmap they need to create welcoming policies and share new approaches to inclusion to create an environment where everyone can truly thrive. Learn more at


Henry Whitfield State Museum
248 Old Whitfield Street
Guilford, CT 06437 United States
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