Current Exhibits

Portraits of Survival

July 15-October 15, 2024

Portraits of Survival was conceived by photographer Lena Stein, spotlighting the lives of Holocaust survivors that settled in the Hartford area.

This exhibition is dedicated to Lena’s father, Abram Stein.  Mr. Stein was born in Poland in 1922; prior to World War II, his family lived in Wloclawek, Poland. After 18 months of war, his parents (Pesa & Fajwel) and their children (Jakob, Abram, Fela, and David) escaped to Russia and lived in Chelyabinsk. Following the war, the family returned to Wloclawek. Only Lena’s grandfather survived the occupation during the war; his 11 siblings perished.

Lena lived in Wloclawek until she was 18 years old and began to fully understand the impact of the Holocaust, as her father was involved in taking care of the remaining survivors of the Jewish community. As time passed, there were fewer Jewish people living in the town.

Years later, as Lena Stein was taking photographs of Holocaust survivors in the Hartford area, she felt it a privilege to meet these individuals and hear of their life stories, expressing regret that she was unable to spend more with them. Stein says that although the portraits are impactful, it is “the stories that are the [most] important.”

The West Hartford Historical Society wishes to acknowledge the generosity of Voices of Hope in Farmington, CT for the exhibition loan in summer/fall of 2024.

About Lena Stein

Lena Stein is a Connecticut-based photographer that has explored a variety of humanitarian topics during her career, including:

  • Rainbow Children, Kolkata: Stein was awarded a New Boston Individual Artist Fellowship from the Greater Hartford Arts Council and the Puffin Foundation Award.
  • Nepal Youth Foundation, Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Medical Mission to Haiti, Connecticut Haitian-American Organization.
  • Equality Now, New York
  • Three exhibitions at the Museum of Jewish Civilization (University of Hartford) that explored diverse portraits of Israeli society:
    • Faces of a Nation
    • All of God’s Children
    • Veiled Women
  • Exhibition “Girlcott Project” at Charter Oak Cultural Center, Hartford.

For more information:

Defining the Dictionary:
The story behind the words

“Look it up in Webster’s.” A work with such brand recognition that it goes simply by the author’s last name, An American Dictionary of the English Language is the topic of a new exhibit at the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society. While Webster did not invent the dictionary, what he did do was no less important. He wrote the first American dictionary for the country he helped to shape. Webster sought to unite the people of the new nation by establishing a common American language. The exhibit looks at Webster’s early work and influences and also explores the relationship with Charles and George Merriam who, after Webster’s death, purchased the rights to An American Dictionary as well as the remaining unsold copies to sell in their shop. Today, Merriam-Webster Incorporated maintains the spirit of Noah Webster and the essence of his life’s work by chronicling the ever-evolving American English language.