Begin your search for Connecticut’s Indians with a visit to the Institute for American Indian Studies on 15 wooded acres in Washington. You’ll find a replicated Algonkian village, a healing plants garden, nature trails, a chief’s longhouse and the 10,000-year story of Connecticut’s native population.
The story of Connecticut’s native tribes is told in the wind and woods - and now seems an especially good time to find the trail and follow it. From museum exhibits to re-created encampments, the tale of the region’s American Indians is rich and fascinating.
At Hartford’s Connecticut Historical Society, the focus is on all things Connecticut, which means there is much to learn and see regarding the region’s native peoples. Be sure to see the “Making Connecticut” permanent exhibit, which maps out the state’s history from the 1500s onward.
After lunch, make the drive out to Storrs, where you’ll find the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History on the University of Connecticut’s campus. Associated with the museum is the Connecticut Archaeology Center, which houses a variety of Native American collections. The Norris Bull Collection, for example, includes a 12-foot dugout canoe fashioned from an American Chestnut tree, one of only three ever excavated in Connecticut.
The award-winning Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center (seasonal) is the largest museum in the world devoted to Native American life. Many exhibits brilliantly re-create early aboriginal days in Connecticut and tell the difficult story of what happened when the European settlers arrived.