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More than ten thousand artifacts

A Collection of Treasures

In its first year in 1917, the MHS established its headquarters in the family home of Cornelius Bushnell. Before long, generous members and volunteers had repaired the eighteenth-century building and outfitted it with donated heirlooms. Together they created a period house that welcomed visitors and preserved treasured objects and stories from Madison's past.

Preserving the stories of Madison was the primary focus of the organization’s earliest volunteers. In the 1950s and 1960s, the trustees and other recruits shifted their focus to the collection. During these years, the Allis-Bushnell House became home to more than 10,000 artifacts representative of Madison's rich history. Native arrowheads, early agricultural implements, and shipbuilding tools share valuable space with impressive examples of toys, textiles, clothing, porcelain, furnishings, portraits, and other artifacts of local significance. Today we continue to seek unique items of specific historical importance to the town and its people.

Digital Archive

Our vibrant Flickr page features digital images of objects from our collection and highlights from our events. Launched in June 2016 as a volunteer effort by MHS trustee Bob Gundersen, this ongoing technology initiative enables us to reach people around the globe. Our Flickr page features more than 12,000 public and private images and has garnered well more than 10 million visitor views.

History Mystery Contest

In recent years the MHS has developed innovative ways to engage the community and fulfill our mission in a virtual world. In April 2020, for example, we launched History Mystery--an online guessing game featuring artifacts from our collection. You can still explore here to discover these mystery items and the purposes they served.  


Donating an Object

The MHS is always looking to expand its collection of objects from Madison's rich cultural past.

If you would like to make a donation to the collection, contact our office at 203 245.4567 or via email at to discuss the process.

 Highlights from the Collection

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