About the Trail

The Connecticut Art Trail is a nationally recognized partnership between 20 world-class museums and historic sites, created to promote Connecticut’s rich cultural assets as part of a travel experience.

The Trail was launched in 1995 as the Connecticut Impressionist Art Trail, celebrating Connecticut’s ten museums and historic sites which highlighted American Impressionism. Connecticut’s flowing rivers, unspoiled shoreline, bucolic countryside and rural Connecticut villages became a magnet for American Impressionist painters at the turn of the twentieth century. Artists flocked to the state to paint en plein air, forming colonies at the Holley House in Cos Cob/Greenwich (now the Bush-Holley Historic Site) and Miss Florence Griswold’s boarding house in Old Lyme (now the Florence Griswold Museum), which were the cornerstones for the Connecticut Impressionist Art Trail. Such familiar names as J. Alden Weir, William Chadwick, Childe Hassam, Theodore Robinson, John Twachtman and Elmer Livingston MacRae all were part of the Impressionism movement.

In 2005, the member museums voted to expand the group’s scope beyond Impressionism and included four more museums and historic sites. The membership wanted to showcase the diversity of collections within the state and reach a broader audience. The Trail continued to grow significantly between 2008 and today.

Travelers can now discover bucolic farms, art studios and former artists’ boarding houses, as well as grand and modern art museums in vibrant downtowns. Quality collections rich in history and heritage offer European masterpieces, American Impressionism, ancient art and contemporary culture … just follow the Trail!

Learn how you can follow the Trail with the Art Passport – a $25 booklet that gives you access to each member museum for one year. Use your Passport once at each location to access exhibits, events and more!