Exploring the Music, Arts & History of the Valley 

Take a ride back into history on The Naugatuck Railroad

Courtesy of Penn Rail Videos
The former Chase Brass Mill in Waterbury.  Photo courtesy of the Waterbury Development Corporation.

The Naugatuck River has played an important role in the development in all of the Naugatuck Valley towns - both economically and culturally. Factories and industrial companies attracted many people to the valley who were in need of employment. Over the years, towns became more populated and developed into the beautiful towns that they are today. To learn more about the unique history and culture of the Naugatuck River Valley visit one of the Valley's museums or cultural centers listed below.  For a complete listing of historical societies in the Naugatuck River Valley please check out our Resources page.

Did You Know?

The Naugatuck Valley is home to many industrial inventions, including vulcanized rubber and Naugahide upholstery, as well as some more familiar innovations including Mounds and Almond Joy candy bars and even the wiffle ball!


Mattatuck Museum, Arts & History Center (Waterbury)
The Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury is the only combined museum, arts and history center in the Valley. 
Photo courtesy of the Mattatuck Museum.

144 West Main Street, Waterbury, CT 06702

The Mattatuck Museum is the only combined museum, arts and history center in the Naugatuck River Valley.  The Museum collects, preserves, studies, and exhibits American art and history with a focus on the arts of Connecticut and its cultural history. The Museum encourages an understanding of our past and provides vision and leadership for our community's future through education and outreach.

For more information about the museum call (203) 753-0381 or visit their website

The Railroad Museum of New England (Thomaston)

242 East Main Street, Thomaston, CT

Another attraction in the Naugatuck River Valley is The Railroad Museum of New England, a non-profit educational and historical institution. The volunteer-run museum is located in Thomaston and has been a centerpiece of the valley since January 1968. Visitors to the museum will be delighted to learn about the amazing history of the region’s railroad, including its influence on the development of many Naugatuck River towns. Along with from regional history, visitors will be intrigued by the wide variety of artifacts and historical equipment on display, including vintage passenger cars.

Photo courtesy of the Railroad Museum of New England

Naugatuck Railroads Railroad's December trains.
(Courtesy: Naugatuck Railroad)

Directions and more information about the museum can be found on the website: http://www.rmne.org/volunteer/index.php or by calling (860) 283-RAIL (860-283-7245).

The Thomaston Opera House (Thomaston)

158 Main Street, Thomaston, CT 06787

The Thomaston Opera house was built in 1884 and serves as a cultural and recreational center for the Town of Thomaston and surrounding communities. It is a point of pride for area residents and the many people who participate in its productions each year.  Visitors and residents who visit the Opera House will enjoy a variety of stage musicals throughout the year.   For more information and a listing of  upcoming events,call the Opera House Box Office at (860) 283-6250 or visit the Opera House website: http://www.thomastonoperahouse.org/

Photo courtesy of the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism

Timexpo Museum (Waterbury)

The Timexpo Museum in Waterbury, CT.  Photo courtesy of the Housatonic Valley Association.

175 Union Street, Waterbury, CT 06706
Open Tuesday-Saturday 10:00a-5:00p

Visitors to the Timex Museum in Waterbury will learn about the history of Timex - which dates all the way back to 1854! - as well as much more!  Learn about Waterbury Clock’s many time-related inventions as you view their collection of clocks and pocket watches manufactured in Waterbury starting in the mid-1800s. Witness the impact of economics, marketing, major historical events and innovations as you journey through the history of clock making in the region and the resulting modern day technologies. And while you're there, don't forget to journey through the Time Tunnel back to the ancient world and marvel over the mysteries of Easter Island and connections across the seas in the “Coincidences or Connections” exhibit. You can also visit the water table, a model of the Pacific Ocean, where you can experiment sailing boats with and against the currents or learn about the Mounds of North America and their relationship to other mounds and pyramids around the world.

The museum hosts a variety of special events, including informative, hands-on presentations and activities for visitors of all ages. The museum is also available for use as a venue for parties, fundraisers, or meetings. For more information and a listing of  upcoming events, call (203) 755-3807 or visit the Timexpo Museum website: http://www.timexpo.com/index.html.

Historical Society Offices & Museums

Derby and Ansonia Historical Society Office
Sarah Riggs Humphreys House, 37 Elm Street, Ansonia , CT
Open Monday-Friday 1:00-4:00p

The Derby and Ansonia Historical Society's office is located on Elm Street in Ansonia.  The office is open during weekdays from 1-4p.  Make sure to check out the links on the Historical Society's website to internet videos called “Looking Up, A View from the Valley.” These videos are a great summary of the history of Derby and how it has grown into the town it is today. For more information contact the Society at (203) 735-1908 or info@derbyhistorical.org

Seymour Historical Society Museum
59 West Street, Seymour, CT
Open for tours or historic and genealogy research by appointment

The museum is located on West Street in Seymour and is open by appointment for tours or historic and genealogy research.  Make sure to check out the program calendar on the Society's website for news about upcoming programs and events!  To learn more about the museum contact the Society at (203) 888-7471or  seymourhistoricalsociety@gmail.com .  

Naugatuck Historical Society Museum
195 Water Street, Naugatuck, CT 06770
Open Friday Noon-4:00p and Saturdays 10:00a-2:00p

The Naugatuck Historical Society Museum is located at 195 Water Street in Naugatuck.  Upcoming events can be found by clicking the “Events & Programs” link of the left side of the historical society's website.  To learn more contact the Society at (203) 729-9039.

Watertown Historical Society and Museum
22 Deforest Street, Watertown, CT 06795
Open Wednesdays 2:00p- 4:00p or By Appointment

Upcoming events at the Watertown Historical Society Museum can be found by following the link for “Events” at the top of the society's website.  For more information contact the Society at (860) 274-1050. 

Thomaston Historical Society and Museum
Level 6 of the Town Hall, 158 Main Street, Thomaston, CT
Open by appointment

The Thomaston Historical Society and Museum contains a wealth of information about the town history, the Thomaston Dam, and the Opera House. For more information or to schedule an appointment call  (860) 283-2159. 

Last revised 8/31/2012

Special thanks to our sponsors:
Naugatuck Savings Bank, Connecticut Community Foundation
Union Savings Bank, Wesson Energy, Inc., The United Illumination Company, Friends of Naugatuck River
The Platt Brothers & Company, Thomaston Savings Bank, Valley Community Foundation