GOOD Morning Wilton wants to blow the lid off this trunk–trunk show, that is–opening it up to share the hidden secret that is the charming Betts Store at the Wilton Historical Society (224 Danbury Rd.). This Sunday, Nov. 17 , 3-6 p.m., the WHS is holding a Holiday Trunk Show, making it a great time to check out the treasure trove of great items they offer.
When Leslie Nolan became director of the WHS last year, she made some changes to the store, improving the kinds of items they carried not only to better reflect the collection at the museum, but also to increase the quality and variety. She eliminated anything made in China and introduced hand-crafted and eclectic items more suited for an adorable boutique.
“The Society has the best toy, train and tool collection in the state, if not in New England. A lot of the dolls we have are made in Connecticut, everything in made in the U.S.–these swings are made in Pennsylvania from reclaimed wood. I could go on and on,” enthused Leslie Nolan, WHS director.
The store features locally- and American-made, one-of-a-kind pottery, jewelry, candles, letterpress cards (from Wilton’s own SaltBox Press), scarves and other eclectic and interesting items. Some of the pottery collection is made by Daniel Bellows, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who quit the paper when his colleague and close friend, Daniel Pearl, was killed. His work is also carried in higher end stores like Anthropologie and Terrain in Westport, and Nolan points out that the Betts Store is usually priced more competitively.
The store name was changed to the Betts Store after the original Betts Store that existed in Wilton from around 1780 through the 1880’s. A picture of it hangs in the current store, which is now in the building that was the historic Betts residence. “What’s so cool is that we actually have copies in our collections of the inventory and ledgers that were kept for the store. They were found in the house. You can see the things they sold then–rum, sugar and silk velvet,” explained Nolan. “I thought, we’re in the Betts house, let’s call this the Betts Store!”
She adds that the income from the store is crucial. “It supports our programs and our outreach.” Good thing that the store has doubled their take in one year since the changes were made. “When we get people here, when we get the traffic, we do very well. That’s why we’re holding the trunk show Sunday.”
During the trunk show, there will be refreshments, including some Prosecco punch.