By Edward Munster
(September 13, 2022) — Have you ever visited the Shad Museum or even noticed the sign in Higganum for the museum? People say it is not easy to find because it is located behind and to the left of the building at 212 Saybrook Road. The property is currently for sale and Dr. Joseph Zaientz, who founded the Shad Museum in 1999, recently donated the building and its contents to the Haddam Historical Society.
The museum, which is a small wooden structure (16’ by 16’), needs a new home. At the Board of Selectmen’s meeting on September 12th, Lisa Malloy, Director of the Haddam Historical Society, made a proposal that it be moved to the nearby Haddam Elementary School property in the vicinity of the old playground area, at least temporarily, until the plans for a multi-generational park are worked out. HHS looked at many sites in town and, at the suggestion of town officials, thought the Higganum location was the most advantageous and desirable.
Malloy made the case that shad were once one of the town’s largest exports and played a vital role in Haddam and the State of Connecticut. The shad is a part of Haddam’s Town Seal and is the official state fish for Connecticut. Dr. Zaientz has collected a wealth of material and artifacts related to shad fishing, which are displayed in the museum.
The BOS passed a motion approving the proposal under the condition that the Haddam Historical Society will be responsible for the cost of moving the museum from its present location to the HES property. Malloy stated that “the HHS Board of Directors is committed to ensuring that the Haddam Shad Museum remains a valuable asset to the town’s cultural economy and that it is preserved and interpreted in perpetuity.”
Photo by Edward Munster