Katharine Hepburn first came to the town of Old Saybrook in 1912 when she was not quite five years old. Her family’s summer house here, in the borough of Fenwick, became her refuge from the demands of her career. She called it “paradise” and it was to this paradise she would retire in 1997. Fittingly, she also died here in 2003, the same year the Town of Old Saybrook voted to restore the old Town Hall. Two years later, Miss Hepburn’s family granted the Town the right to name the renovated building after her.
Located on the first floor of the Kate, the Katharine Hepburn Museum presents an authentic view of the cultural and historical impact of Miss Hepburn and her family. In addition to many photographs from Katharine Hepburn’s life and career, the exhibit features her 1975 Primetime Emmy Award, examples of letters written to her family during the early years of her career, costume and personal wardrobe pieces, and two of her paintings, including a self-portrait.
The Museum and Gift Shop are open Tuesday through Friday from 10 am to 4 pm and one hour prior to performances. Admission is free but donations are gratefully accepted. The Museum is handicap accessible.
If you wish to book a guided tour or bring a large group to the Museum, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call the box office for more information at 860-510-0453.
MUSEUM EXPANSION CAMPAIGN
THANK YOU to all who supported the 2021 Katharine Hepburn Museum Campaign! We are grateful to Sonny and Christine Whelen for presenting a challenge match and the significant support from the Louis F. and Mary A. Tagliatela Family Foundation, the Munn Family Foundation, the Scoville Family Charitable Fund, and the hundreds of donors who so generously donated to this effort to preserve Miss Hepburn’s legacy.
Become a Kate Enthusiast!
Join fellow fans in sustaining Ms. Hepburn’s legacy with an annual gift of $50 to support the preservation of Kate memorabilia. Your status as a Kate Enthusiast will provide:
- Premiere Access to Museum content – be the first to know about additions to the collection and receive invitations to exclusive in-person and virtual programs
- Annual Special Gift – 2021 Kate magnet
- A 10% discount on all purchases at the Kate Boutique (taxes and shipping and handling fees excluded)
- Recognition in the Kate’s Annual Report as a Kate Enthusiast
You’ll receive a welcome packet with Kate Enthusiast card and magnet by mail.
Current Kate Members will receive premiere access to Museum content during the inaugural year of this program, through April 1, 2022.
Virtual Exhibit (with added scenes!) Now Streaming!
The Kate is pleased to present the virtual exhibit, Katharine Hepburn: Unintentional Trailblazer. Through Kate’s own words, via narration from her autobiography and letters written to her family, plus items from our collection you’ll explore different facets of Katharine Hepburn’s life and cultural impact. Keep in mind that this is not a chronological documentary of the great Kate but an online exhibit. We encourage you to view it as you would a traditional exhibit – pause to reread captions, rewind to see particular pieces again, and continue to revisit it over and over.
Tell us what you think! Complete this brief survey to review the online exhibit and offer suggestions for future programs.
The project is funded in part by a grant from Connecticut Humanities. The Kate is grateful to Katharine Houghton, Cynthia McFadden, and the Hepburn estate for providing access to special materials, and to Wayne and Barbara Harms for their generous support toward this project.
Also available to view…
An in-depth discussion and analysis of Katharine Hepburn’s grasp on the power of her appearance hosted by Ann Nyberg with Jean Druesedow and Judy Samelson.