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Armstrong Makes Historical Society Come Alive

When Charlotte "Charky" Armstrong moved to Darien in the '70s, she thought she was just buying an old house. Little did she know that she hadn't just found a home, she'd also found a calling.

"Our house was built in 1856 and had one of those little white historical plaques on it," she said. "I wanted to research it a little, so I went to the Darien Historical Society." In this case, a little curiosity didn't kill the cat, but it did get Armstrong involved with and hooked by the society.

She's in her second term on its board and played a key role in the capital campaign to raise funds to erect the addition to the society's building on Old King's Highway. The addition, an old barn across the street, was disassembled, moved across the road, then rebuilt with modern utilities and amenities inside. The added museum and display space now houses an exhibit on Darien's involvement in the Civil War.

It also makes an excellent site for social gatherings, such as the society's annual fundraiser, which Armstrong helps spearhead. Last year's event had a Roaring '20s theme, with mannequins dressed in period costumes and the downstairs turned into a "speakeasy." This year's fundraiser, set for June 11, is called "Staying Alive" and takes its inspiration from the '70s, with the room being turned into a disco.

The event raises funds and awareness in the Historical Society. "We have around 400 members, but would love to have more," says Armstrong. "You don't have to live in an old house to join."

Besides staging exhibits about Darien's history, "we're a great support to real estate agents researching older homes," she says. "And we'd like to get the schools more involved again. Our primary goal is to educate."

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