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Bristol Museum Hires Mark Twain House's Curator

Mark Twain House loses is curator to Bristol's clock and watch museum

Patricia Philippon is leaving as chief curator of the Mark Twain House in Hartford to take the top job at the American Clock & Watch Museum in Bristol, the museum's board announced Monday.

Philippon will be leaving a senior position at one of Hartford's best-known historic landmarks to become executive director at the clock and watch museum.

In her new job, she will manage a niche museum that has developed a loyal following. The American Clock & Watch Museum maintains an extensive collection of historic timepieces, with many linked to the pioneers of the American clock industry who operated in Bristol, Thomaston and surrounding towns in the 1800s and early 1900s.

"The wealth of experience that Patti can bring to our museum with its historic ties to the City of Bristol and the overall horological community will be crucial as we chart our course for the future," museum board President Howard Cohen said in a statement.

Michael Nicastro, the board's treasurer, said that attracting Philippon from the Mark Twain House could help all of Bristol along with its other museums.

"Despite being a smaller city, Bristol has a good base of well-known and/or historically significant museums — the Carousel Museum, Imagine Nation Museum and the Bristol Historical Society — which contribute to the cultural makeup and economic base of the area," Nicastro said.

"With Patti coming from what can be seen as the 'major leagues' of museums at the Mark Twain House, her experience and level of diversification will not only serve the American Clock & Watch Museum but could be a boost to Bristol's other fine venues as well."

In her 13 years at the Mark Twain House, Philippon had served stints as collections manager and interim director before becoming chief curator in 2007. She was responsible for maintaining, developing and presenting a 16,000-piece collection, as well as preserving two historic buildings on the same property.

In Bristol, she replaces Jennifer Carroll, who left as executive director of the American Clock & Watch Museum earlier this year. The museum has been operating since 1954. It operates a research library and offers a series of educational programs to the public throughout its operating season.

The museum reported that Philippon holds a master's degree in art history from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and earned a bachelor's degree in the humanities from Providence College. She has previously worked with the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme and the Craftsman Farms Foundation of Parsippany, N.J. She and her family live in Bristol's Forestville section.

"I look forward to joining the team at the AC&WM and continuing the long and wonderful tradition that founder Edward Ingraham and other stalwarts of the American clock industry sought to preserve more than 60 years ago," she said in a statement.

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