Preserving History

In 1831, Prudence Crandall opened a private academy for the daughters of the white families of Canterbury and neighboring communities. Sarah Harris approached Crandall and was accepted as the first black woman as a student at the Academy. In 1833, Crandall decided to close the school and re-open it as one exclusively for “young Ladies and Little misses of color”.

Between 20 and 25 black women and girls, ranging from ages 9 to 22, attended the Academy. They came from Philadelphia, New York City, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. During the Academy’s 17 months of operation, Crandall and her students endured court trials, harassment, and increasing violence. After an angry mob attacked the school building on the night of September 9, 1834, Crandall decided that she must close the Academy for the safety of her students. Although only open for a brief time, the Canterbury Female Academy was the first private educational opportunity for African-American women in New England.

The events that took place at Prudence Crandall’s Female Academy and the courage shown by both teacher and students remain without equal in the annals of Connecticut history. Friends of the Prudence Crandall Museum need your support to ensure that this important site is preserved for future generations.

Friends of the Prudence Crandall Museum sponsor and support special events at the Museum, such as lectures, children’s programs, and teas, to support fundraising for the Museum. See a listing of all our Programs and Events.


Learn More About Prudence Crandall


Life-size bronze statue of Prudence Crandall and Sarah Harris in Hartford Connecticut’s State Capitol building. Life-size bronze statue of Prudence Crandall and Sarah Harris in Hartford Connecticut’s State Capitol building.


Blue Star Museum Program

Memorial Day through Labor Day: The Museum will once again participate in the “Blue Star Museums” program by offering free admission to all active duty members of the armed services and their families…Proper ID is required. For more info and to find out what over historic sites are participating:  National Endowment for the Arts.

Connecticut State Capitol Tours

League of Women Voters

Contact Friends

Friends of the Prudence Crandall Museum, Inc.
P.O. Box 34
Canterbury, CT 06331