The Zagray Family and Homestead
Carrying few belongings, Agnes and Stephen Zagray immigrated to America from the Ukraine in the early 1900’s initially settling in New York City. In 1916, using the small amount of money they had saved and loans from local businesses, Agnes and Stephen purchased a farm on Amston Road in Colchester. The Zagrays worked the farm, managed 35 to 40 dairy cows and raised three sons, Stanley, Harry and William, on the farm. All three sons worked in industry and served in the military as well as maintaining the large farm. Upon their parents death, the brothers remained on the farm, heating with a wood burning stove and using an three seater outhouse the whole time.
In 2001 Harry Zagray died, having been predeceased by his brother Willy and the institutionalization of Stanley. Harry left the farm to the Colchester Historical Society to be preserved as a “capsule in time”. The Colchester Historical Society partners with the Colchester Fish and Game Club and the Quinebaug Valley Engineers to maintain the integrity of the Zagray Family’s wishes.
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The Colchester Historical Society is proud to announce the successful completion of StEPS-CT, or Standards and Excellence Program for History Organizations (StEPs).
The Colchester Historical Society was one of 23 small cultural and heritage organizations which recently completed this intensive 2-year program. CHS received support and training via curriculum-based workshops; coaching from a dedicated mentor; and access to a Connecticut Humanities grant fund earmarked for initiatives related to achieving StEPs-CT program standards.
Over the course of the program, the Colchester Historical Society achieved bronze and silver certificates in six areas of museum practice. Through continued work on a self-study basis, CHS plans to continue to strive for gold certification in all StEPS Units. “This is just the beginning,” said CHS Co-President Gigi Liverant, “we are so grateful for StEPS-CT for all that we’ve learned, and we plan to continue developing procedures and policies that establish Colchester Historical Society as the premier steward of Colchester’s history and heritage.”
“Our experience with StEPS-CT has been invaluable,” Angela George, Co-President of CHS added. “From improved signage that has increased visitation to the museum, to implementing current policies that guide our volunteers through daily operations, StEPS-CT has improved our organization. We can now provide better programs to our community, and we are now better able to tell our audiences our local histories and preserve our heritage through our unique collections and images.”
StEPs-CT is a program of Connecticut Humanities and the Connecticut League of History Organizations, in partnership with Connecticut Historical Society, based on a curriculum of best practices developed by the American Association for State and Local History.
Connecticut’s program was the first to integrate the national StEPs curriculum and is viewed as a model for similar programs across the country, according to Scott Wands, manager of grants and programs at Connecticut Humanities.
Connecticut Humanities, a nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, provides opportunities to explore the history, literature and the vibrant culture that make our state, cities and towns attractive places to live and work. Learn more by visiting www.cthumanities.org.
The Connecticut League of History Organizations (CLHO) builds connections among those who preserve and share the stories and objects of our past. Learn more by visiting www.clho.org.