In The News

Trees For Tomorrow

April 2, 2015

The East Lyme Public Trust Foundation, in cooperation with the East Lyme Parks and Recreation Department, has announced a new project to raise funds for the support of the Niantic Bay Boardwalk and other projects.

A commemorative tree program, called "Trees for Tomorrow," includes placing trees in public spaces in East Lyme to commemorate a birth, wedding, graduation, or honor a loved one.

The Smith-Harris House has agreed to participate in this program, with a few specifications: trees selected for the Smith-Harris House historic site must be heirloom fruit varietals, and the planting location will in the far-right corner of the property, across from the barn, to replenish what was once the Brookside Farm orchard.

A $600 contribution will cover the cost of the tree and a plaque. Planting will take place in the spring and fall. Contributions are tax deductible. Application forms are available at the town hall, library, parks & rec building, the Book Barn, and on-line at

Smith-Harris House Accepted into Statewide Standards and Training Program

February 12, 2015

The Smith-Harris House has been selected to participate in StEPs-CT – a statewide, 26-month integrated program of professional development for smaller cultural organizations.

The program is based on the national Standards and Excellence Program of History Organizations (StEPs). Since its debut in 2009, StEPs has helped 585 institutions nationwide, including 27 in Connecticut.

The Smith-Harris House was one of 23 organizations recently accepted into the program after a competitive application process. Support and training comes via curriculum-based workshops; coaching from a dedicated mentor; and access to a Connecticut Humanities grant fund earmarked for initiatives related to achieving StEPs-CT program standards. Over the course of the program, the Smith-Harris House will work to achieve certificates in six areas of museum practice.

StEPs-CT is a program of Connecticut Humanities and the Connecticut League of History Organizations, in partnership with the Connecticut Historical Society, based on a curriculum of best practices developed by the American Association for State and Local History.

This is the second offering of the StEPs-CT program. From 2012-2014, two dozen Connecticut organizations completed the program. They received some $45,000 in grants and earned 116 StEPs certificates – more than 40% of the total certificates earned by all participating organizations nationwide. Connecticut's program was the first to integrate the national StEPs curriculum and is viewed as a model for similar programs across the country, according to Scott Wands, manager of grants and programs at Connecticut Humanities.

"We're thrilled to participate in the StEPs-CT program," said curator Joanie DiMartino. "The Smith-Harris House is a valuable asset to the residents of East Lyme, and our involvement in StEPs-CT will help us continue to develop stronger ties with the community we serve which will also be in line with current museum practices."

Other institutions participating in StEPs-CT are: Avery-Copp House (Groton), Cheshire Historical Society, Colchester Historical Society, Connecticut Valley Tobacco Historical Society (Windsor), Cornwall Historical Society, Danbury Railway Museum, Deep River Historical Society, Denison Society (Mystic), Dudley Foundation (Guilford), Essex Historical Society, Groton Public Library, Guilford Keeping Society, Naugatuck Historical Society, New Britain Industrial Museum, Newtown Historical Society, Salisbury Association, Stonington Historical Society, Wallingford Historic Preservation Trust, Weston Historical Society, Westport Historical Society, Wilton Historical Society, Wood Memorial Library (South Windsor).

Connecticut Humanities, a nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, provides opportunities to explore the history, literature, and the vibrant culture that makes our state, cities, and towns attractive places to live and work. Learn more by visiting The Connecticut League of History Organizations (CLHO) builds connections among those who preserve and share the stories and objects of our past. Learn more by visiting

The Smith-Harris House, a Greek Revival 1840s farmhouse located in Niantic, CT, is owned by the Town of East Lyme and operated by the Smith-Harris House Commission and the Friends of Smith-Harris House. The Smith-Harris House is listed on the National Historic Register as the Thomas Avery House. For more information, visit our website at