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Katharine Hepburn Museum opens in Old Saybrook

The Kate
A section of the Katharine Hepburn Museum in Old Saybrook.

The Katharine Hepburn Museum in Old Saybrook, Connecticut opened its doors for the first time on Monday, June 27. It’s located on the first floor of The Kate, a cultural center that pays tribute to the Hartford actress.

The museum features photos, clips from home movies and film and television clips, along with dozens of letters that Hepburn wrote to her family in her early years. The exhibit also includes costumes, personal wardrobe and other unique items like a bathtub.

Brett Eliott, the executive director of The Kate, said that having those pieces allows the center to tell Hepburn’s story in a “reimagined way,” and that they’re thrilled to be able to share it with the community and the state.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal said that the museum will be an attraction for Connecticut.

“It will bring people to Old Saybrook — you may not want a lot of visitors here, but they'll be coming for the right reasons,” Blumenthal said. “The right reasons, which are to celebrate her great accomplishments and artistic greatness, but also what Old Saybrook meant to her."

Carl Fortuna, the first selectman of Old Saybrook, agreed with Blumenthal that the museum is good for the town.

“It's good for the economy of Main Street because now you'll be able to get additional folks,” Fortuna said. “In terms of buses, you're going to actually be able to have a bus of tourists come down and be able to go to The Kate and enjoy the museum, and then they'll go get lunch on Main Street.”

Hepburn starred in more than 50 films and holds a record four Oscars for best actress for the films The Golden Pond, The Lion in Winter, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Morning Glory.

The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. During the months of July and August, it will be open on Saturday and Sunday from noon until 4 p.m.

Natalie is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.