Revisiting the Nut Museum: Visionary Art of Elizabeth Tashjian


When we first moved to Old Lyme, there was an intriguing museum just down the street from our house devoted to the nut. Many of you probably remember the museum and it’s elderly curator/owner Elizabeth Tashjian (often referred to as the Nut Lady, to her alarm). Her Victorian manse was home to a vast collection of nuts and a prolific outpouring of her nut-themed paintings and sculpture. Admission was $3 and a nut. 

Sadly, Elizabeth was eventually discovered unresponsive in her home, taken to the hospital, and remained in a coma for several days. During that time, probate court put her house up for sale. When she finally came to, there was little time to save her precious collection. That’s when Christopher Steiner stepped in. An art history professor at Connecticut College, he rescued the collection at the last possible minute. Tashjian’s oeuvre has been languishing in storage at the school for the last fifteen or so years, but at long last Steiner has curated an exhibit of her work at Conn College’s Cummings Art Galleries. 

It’s a magnificent tribute. Two galleries are filled with her paintings, sculpture, and ephemera, and Steiner has recreated the parlor of the Nut Museum down to the very last detail, including the famous Coco de Mer, featured on The Tonight Show. A must-see: Cummings Art Galleries at Connecticut College through December 6th. See details here. 

ALSO: Dr. Christopher Steiner will be the featured speaker at The Samuel Thorne Memorial Lecture presented by The Florence Griswold Museum on November 9th, from 5 – 6pm at the First Congregational church of Old Lyme. Click here for more info.