Were the Puritans allowed to listen to music? Why were drums and bugles so important? Where did your Windsor grandparents go to dance? Who are the famous Windsor musicians of yesteryear, and today?

Answers to all these questions and many other melodious surprises await you in our exhibit Puritans, Polkas, and Pop: Music in Windsor.

This exhibition focuses on the music heard in Windsor from the time of first settlement until the present. Windsor residents have heard a diverse range of music in the roughly 390 years since those first English settlers arrived. The types of music Windsor residents have enjoyed over time have been shaped by evolving morals, advancing technologies, and tastes shaped by an ever-broader range of cultural influences from both inside and outside the town’s borders and around the world.

The first music in Windsor was, of course, the music produced by the indigenous peoples who lived in this area before the European settlers arrived: the Poquonock, the Podunk, the Sicaog, and the Tunxis. The records that have come down to us today about indigenous music at the time of first settlement are misrepresentations written by English settlers who misunderstood what they saw and heard. Nonetheless, these accounts describe shamanic healing ceremonies or powwows, which incorporated dance and song, and often, like much of the music the English settlers brought with them to these shores, had a religious component.

While we wish this exhibit could contain every note heard in town over all those past centuries, so much music could never fit into this space. Instead, this exhibit hopes to give a sample of the attitudes and influences that have shaped the sound of music in Windsor since the first English settlers arrived in 1633 until the present. We think Windsor sounds great!

Opened November, 2022.

Back to Exhibits