Myths and Legends of the Connecticut River Valley

Now through October 14, 2019

Myths and legends are traditional stories that are told to entertain, educate, and create a common identity for people. There is no simple distinction between them, but folklorists generally consider myths to be stories that are cosmic in scope (such as those about divine beings), and legends to be stories with a kernel of historical truth (such as those about national figures).

New England’s great river has been a location for storytelling and the sources of myths and legends since the first people arrived. This exhibit brings these stories together for the first time and demonstrates their contribution to our concepts of New England.

The myths and legends of the Connecticut River Valley range from very serious tales to humorous anecdotes. And while some stories are located in a particular place on the river, together they link us to this special place – the Connecticut River Valley. Exhibit script by Dr. Stephen Olbrys Gencarella.

This exhibit was made possible through the generosity of the following funders:  CT Humanities, The Kitchings Family Foundation, The Community Foundation of Middlesex County, The River View Cemetery Fund, The Sallie and Robert Boody Fund, and the Dryfoos Foundation.

The Connecticut River Museum thanks Professor Stephen Olbrys Gencarella for serving as lead scholar on the many Myths and Legends projects and for writing the Myths and Legends exhibit script. His thoroughness, insights, humor, and camaraderie has helped to bring new awareness to and appreciation of the folklore of the Connecticut River Valley!

Click to hear samples of audio from Myths & Legends exhibit

Connecticut’s Famous Charter Oak

Dummerston Vampire Dramatization

A Wobanaki Story Told by Marge Bruchac

Courtesy of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association

Mysterious Sounds in the Night