For Immediate Release
December 4, 2014
Contact: Chris Zaccaro
(860) 246-1553 ext. 116
Hartford, CT - Each week throughout the year Americans are confronted with the latest celebrity gossip, scandal or grab for headlines only to watch it fade away into something new days later. Whether it’s a U.S. President or Kim Kardashian, people are inundated with celebrity culture everywhere they go. Is this anything new or an upward trend that most Americans have come to expect and feed into?
On Tuesday, December 16, Connecticut’s Old State House will explore this trend and discuss whether we have become a celebrity-obsessed culture. Author Eric Lehman will kick off the conversation by illustrating the meteoric rise of America’s first international celebrity and Connecticut’s very own Charles Stratton – better known as General Tom Thumb. Under the skillful management of another Connecticut legend, P.T. Barnum, the comedic talents of the 25 inch tall Stratton charmed a Who’s Who of the 19th Century – from Queen Victoria to Abraham Lincoln – while playing to sold out venues for forty years.
After his talk, Lehman will join a panel of experts for a lively discussion on the world of celebrity and fame. The conversation, which will be moderated by the Connecticut Network’s (CT-N) Diane Smith, will include Maryellen Fillo, Java Columnist for The Hartford Courant, and Dr. Eugene Leach, a retired professor from Trinity College in Hartford. The public is encouraged to attend this free event within the Old State House, bring a lunch and join the discussion as Smith will be taking questions and comments from the audience.
This installment of Conversations at Noon is co-sponsored by The Barnum Museum in Bridgeport with major funding provided by CT Humanities. This free program begins at noon and lasts for one hour. This program’s featured speaker, Eric Lehman, will have copies of his book Becoming Tom Thumb: Charles Stratton, P.T. Barnum and the Dawn of American Celebrity for sale before and after the program in the Old State House Shop. He will also be available for autographs after the program.
Located in Hartford, a short walk from the Wadsworth, Connecticut’s Old State House served as a seat of government for the Constitution State from 1796 to 1878. The Old State House Shop, located on the Main Street side of the building, provides visitors an opportunity to purchase great, quality-made Connecticut and Hartford themed gifts, products and apparel. The interactive History is All Around Us exhibition by the Connecticut Historical Society, located in the Mortensen Gallery of the lower level of the Old State House, allows visitors to explore over 300 years of Hartford and Connecticut history. For more information on admission prices, upcoming events and parking discounts nearby, become a fan of Connecticut’s Old State House on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or visit us online at http://www.ctoldstatehouse.org.