One of my favorite childhood memories is when my grandmother would let me play with her button box. Hundreds of buttons all different sizes, colors, designs in that porcelain box, sifting through them would keep me entertained for an hour or so. I can remember many of them distinctly – the really big pearly button with lines etched in it, the small silver button covered in rhinestones, the square emerald button with a golden perimeter, and the rosy pink button with a tiny gem in the center. My grandmother has left our world and her button box was nowhere to be found. As an adult I created my own in her memory and always admired a unique button. When I heard that the Mattatuck Museum [144 West Main Street Waterbury, CT 06702] houses an exceptional collection of buttons, I couldn’t wait to visit and see the vintage buttons – hoping they would remind me of my grandmothers.
I was not disappointed. There are 15,000 buttons from around the world lining the walls and within the drawers of the top floor museum space.
Buttons have a history in the town of Waterbury, Connecticut where the museum resides.
For more than 200 years it was where they were manufactured, a mainstay of the economy.
They are most certainly works of art, made from a variety of materials including glass, pearl, bone, or wood.
Each tells a little story, and I found myself once again a child…sifting, entertained, for an hour or so up in the button room.
If you can drag yourself away from the collection – on the first floor there is industrial equipment used for creating buttons.
You’ll find the museum has exhibits on other subjects, mainly to do with local history and artists from the colonial period until the present.
Good to know:
+Free parking in lots behind the museum
+Admission is free on many occasions, including the first weekend of the month