On Friday, November 30th, friends, neighbors, generous donors and supporters came together to celebrate the opening of the New Canaan Historical Society’s newest exhibition, Seeing Red: Little Red Riding Hood Visits the New Canaan Historical Society. The event treated over 60 guests to an evening that included a reception, a ribbon cutting ceremony, a premiere of the exhibit and an informative and entertaining lecture by Catherine Orenstein, author of Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality & the Evolution of a Fairy Tale.
Music from the musical Into The Woods filled the air as guests delighted in following the path that Little Red took into town and through the woods to Grandmother’s house, while enjoying a sizable assemblage of Little Red Riding Hood memorabilia from the collection of Peggy Rice. Objects on display include buttons, puppets, clocks, nesting dolls, prints and a series of Wedgewood plates, to name just a few. When asked if she had a favorite piece, collector Peggy Rice answered “the nutcracker, because it is unique and beautiful.”
Choosing a favorite is a difficult task when you’ve been collecting for 53 years, a practice that began as a collection for Rice’s youngest daughter. “My grandson thought I should show my collection and Patricia Funt-Oxman, a friend and a volunteer for the New Canaan Historical Society, said ‘I have the perfect place for you’,” said Rice. When describing her feelings about the exhibit she said, “I’m absolutely speechless and overwhelmed, I’ve never seen anything so exceptional.”
The evening continued with a perfect complement to the exhibit, a fascinating lecture by Catherine Orenstein, author of Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality & the Evolution of a Fairy Tale. Orenstein shared the history of the story and explained how it has evolved over time. Originally a story of self-reliance told orally by women while doing work, Little Red Riding Hood has been retold and reinterpreted over time and across the globe. Citing advertisements and movies, Orenstein went on to explain how the story continues to shape our lives, as we internalize the messages from media referencing Little Red that surrounds us all.
It took many hands to make the evening a success, including a team of staff and volunteers, as well as a group of generous sponsors including: Impala Asset Management, Rick Crolla, OD of New Canaan Eye Associates, Paul D. Harbottle, DDS, LLC, Dann Hearing Center, Rubicon Seven, Prudence Parris and Inger Stringfellow of Sotheby’s International Realty, Mr. Robert Perkins, JPMorgan Chase Bank, Hoyt Livery and the Board of Governors of the New Canaan Historical Society.
The evening was a prelude to the exhibit’s public opening on Saturday, December 1st. Members of the community were thrilled to kick-off the holiday season by viewing the exhibit and attending the Society’s annual Holiday Tea. Additionally, children of all ages enjoyed a Little Red Riding Hood puppet show performed by WonderSpark Puppets, one of many programs planned to accompany the exhibit.
Seeing Red: Little Red Riding Hood Visits the New Canaan Historical Society will be on display through March 1, 2013. Exhibition hours are 10am–4pm Tuesday–Friday, and 10am–12pm on Saturdays. Admission to the exhibition is $5, and the Society is located at 13 Oenoke Ridge Road in New Canaan. Be sure to attend Little Red Riding Hood–The Panto, presented by the Town Players of New Canaan. Performances take place December 7,8,9 and 14,15,16 at the Powerhouse Performing Arts Center, Waveny Park. For tickets, call 203-966-7371. Also, don’t miss Wolves of North America, a presentation on January 12th by the Wolf Conservation Center, where attendees can enjoy learning about the mythology, biology and ecology of wolf families and visit with a wolf named “Atka”–don’t forget your camera! For more information, please visit www.nchistory.org or call, 203-966-1776.