Trash or treasure? Southington Historical Society offers answers

Appraisers Dan Varano, left, and Carl Hotkowski, right, team up last Saturday to determine the value of this antique nodder. According to the experts, the porcelain figurine dates back to the 1920s, and it’s worth approximately $150. These appraisal was part of a free service offered to Southington residents by the Southington Historical Society. Throughout January and February, appraisals and tours will be offered at the society’s home at 293 Main St., on Saturdays, from noon to 3 p.m. (Photo by Janelle Morelli)



For more than two decades, one of the most popular shows on public television has been “Antiques Roadshow.” Viewers tune in to see appraisers sift through tag sale purchases and family heirlooms, hoping to see people burst into celebration or fall into dismay. It makes for good television drama.

The show has drawn thousands of participants willing to face ridicule just to find out if Uncle Jerry’s antique lamp should be insured or just appreciated for its sentimental value. Now, Southington residents have the opportunity to avoid those camera lights to find their answers.

The Southington Historical Society has entered into their winter operating hours, now open to the public on Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m. New this year, the society is offering free appraisals and tours of the Historical Center, located at 239 Main St.

Appraisers Dan Varano and Carl Hotkowski welcome Southington residents to bring down their family heirlooms and antiques to find out what they are worth, and perhaps learn their histories.

“We’d love to see some Southington artifacts that we haven’t seen before and have a chance to learn a little more about our town’s history,” said Hotkowski.

The Southington Historical Society building was once the public library, as seen in this 1942 photograph by Charles Fenno Jacobs. (Library of Congress)

The museum is full of historical Southington heirlooms, from photos and newspapers, to military gear, to household items and more. Officials hope that, though people come to appraise their heirlooms, they might stay to learn about the town.

“Many townspeople have never been to the museum,” said Hotkowski. “We hope this can be an incentive to attract some people in and give them a chance to learn about their local history.”

Items in the museum are geared toward things made, or used, in Southington. Items are gently preserved and held in time to tell a tale to residents for years to come.

Appraisals and tours of the museum are free, with no appointment necessary. The museum will operate with their winter hours until April. Call (860) 621-4811 for more information. For more information about the Southington Historical Society, visit

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