American Silver Museum at the Johnson Mansion
Originally known as the Franklin Johnson Mansion, this two story Italianate-style building was constructed in 1866. 132 years later, on November 23, 1998, the house was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Wallingford Historic Preservation Trust (WHPT) owns and has restored the only two authentic house museums in Wallingford where folks can take a walk back into the lives of their progenitors. Old time events are also presented on various occasions.
The Johnson Mansion represents life in an 1866 home with Victorian furnishings, lamps, and wall hangings. Through the cooperation of the Meriden Historic Society, the Trust has received the loan of a magnificent 1880s bedroom set from the estate of a former president of the Meriden Britannia Silver Company. Since 1999 the site has been known as the American Silver Museum at the Johnson Mansion.
From the early 1800s, Wallingford and Meriden were recognized as the center of the silver industry in Connecticut. The Trust has many of their factory pictures and catalogs. Docents use exhibits to explain the procedures used in making silver flatware or ornate trays. Items of pewter, stainless, and sterling silver are displayed throughout the rooms on the dining room table, buffet, étagère, curio cabinets, as well as in the silver display gallery. The array of silver includes serving platters, tea and coffee sets, complete silverware settings with serving pieces, and other unique specialty items.
The American Silver Museum/Johnson Mansion is open by appointment only during the winter months. From April to December, we are open to the public on one Sunday afternoon per month plus special events as advertised.