Made in Connecticut: The Carousel Museum in Bristol

The Carousel Museum in Bristol is an attraction that celebrates the history of the merry-go-round and brings some of the oldest known rides back to life.
Executive Director Morgan Urgo says the museum’s mission is to “preserve and protect as many operating wooden carousels as possible."
The carousel was created as a result of the America’s booming industrial industry in the late 1880s.
“The carousel really started to flourish because of a couple of things. The invention of electricity and the trolley in the transportation industry,” she said.
The carousel provided Americans with fun, and gave immigrants a way to use their craftmanship skills in a new country.
“Some of them were fleeing political persecution and religious persecution. They had complete freedom to be artistic and celebrated. They use the language of art, and they drew on the walls to really identify what they were working on,” said Urgo.
Lisa Gibson-Ronalter is a restoration artist who meticulously hand paints each piece. She follows a carefully chosen palette, reference photos and gilding.
“I love it. I've been here for 19 years,” she said.
The museum is currently free for kids as part of the state's summer at museum program. It also can be used to host events like parties and weddings.