As White Night looms at museum, activities bustle inside

The American Clock and Watch Museum in Bristol is throwing open its doors, and sharing its lawn, next month as it offers up White Night Bristol for the third time.
White Night at the museum is modeled upon Nuit Blanche, which is an all-nights art event held in Paris, France… as well as other cities across the globe. At these events, all of the participants celebrate the arts and dress in white clothing.
Bristol’s entry into the Nuit Blanche, literally “White Night” in English (hence the white attire), is scheduled for Saturday, June 13. The museum festivities, which are held on the grounds of the Federal Hill facility, are geared to all ages.
For the museum’s executive director Patti Philippon, this year’s White Night is her first as a member of the staff. But the Bristol resident is no stranger to the local celebration.
“I actually attended White Night before I even started working at the Clock and Watch Museum so I’m excited to be part of the event from the beginning and help plan it and not just being an attendee,” said Philippon.
“I know how much fun I had coming to the event,” said Philippon. “So I’m looking forward to getting in from the ground up for this year’s program.”
Philippon said White Night is a boon for the Clock and Watch Museum.
“I think it’s great because it’s a free community event,” said Philippon.
“This year, we’re tying it into Connecticut Open House Day, where the museum is actually open the entire day on June 13 for free for the public— if you’re a resident of Connecticut.”
“The (jazz concert that is part of the White Night event) is a great add-on at the end…,” said Philippon.
For the third installment of White Night, Philippon said, “We’re going to be doing some other kids craft activities, which we haven’t been able to do in the past. And we’ll tie some of it into our exhibition (which is now open), ‘Once Upon a Time, Clocks and Watches’ in popular literature. So there are going to be some craft activities that tie into that.”
Philippon said, “We’re going to have some art activities because at the heart of this it’s an arts event for us. So we’re going to have some kids do some arts activities outside as well. The band is hoping to get some kids up there to work with them and play.”
“We’re making it more of a community wide event,” said Philippon.
The museum’s executive director said White Night Bristol hopefully will serve as an introduction of the museum to those who might never have stepped into the Maple Street building.
“I think really a lot of people come into this museum and are surprised by how much really is in here,” said Philippon. “The museum is kind of deceptive from the outside in that we really have a wonderful large scope of collections and there’s really something in here for everyone. Whether you’re a clock and watch enthusiast; if you’re interested in the history of Connecticut, how the clock industry was so instrumental in Connecticut history; whether you’re interested in arts and crafts, there’s something of that in here for you as well— so there’s really something in here to intrigue everyone.”
The museum, as noted, will use the White Night Bristol party as a way also to introduce guests to the newest exhibit.
The exhibit (which was funded by the Connecticut Humanities Council) is called “Once Upon a Time, Clocks and Watches in Popular Literature.”
“It’s just really a different way of looking at clocks and watches and how we relate to them,” said Philippon, “and seeing how they’re depicted in popular literature. (The exhibit touches upon) everything from Harry Potter to (Edgar Allen Poe’s) ‘The Pit and the Pendulum to, of course, Nancy Drew and The Hardy boys and some of their books. Clocks and watches really play a role in the symbolism assigned to them around the world in popular books.”
For guests turning out on Saturday, June 13 for White Night Bristol, Philippon said, “Bring your snacks. Bring whatever food you want. Enjoy. We have craft activities for the kids. It’s a really nice, fun, relaxing way to introduce people, who may not have been, to the museum …, to get a sample of the museum, listen to some music, and just get a taste to come back for more.”
White Night Bristol will be held Saturday, June 13 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the American Clock and Watch Museum, 100 Maple St., Bristol. The event is free. For more information, go to or call (860) 583-6070.
As part of its exhibit, “Once Upon a Time, Clocks and Watches in Popular Literature,” the museum also will be holding on Sunday, May 31 from 2 to 4 p.m. “Time for Tea: A Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.” At the children’s event, there will be a tea party—along with crafts— with the characters from “Alice in Wonderland.”
The event is $5. Pre-registration is required. Call the museum at (860) 583-6070.CLO_4117