The Katharine Hepburn Museum
About the Museum
The Katharine Hepburn Museum is the only museum of its kind dedicated to the famed actress and Old Saybrook resident. It offers an authentic view of the cultural and historical impact of Miss Hepburn and her family through letters, photos, home movies, costumes, personal wardrobe items, and other memorabilia.
In addition to the permanent collection, the museum features rotating special exhibits and hosts lectures, workshops, Kate Classic film screenings, and other programs.
A cultural icon and a game-changer, Hepburn’s remarkably long life and career spanned most of the 20th century, offering a unique insight into our recent past. Progressive in her views and iconoclastic in her behavior, it is quite easy to find points of intersection between Kate’s life and pivotal moments in American culture over the decades of the 1900s that have shaped the world we experience today.
Tuesday through Friday 10 AM to 4 PM and one hour prior to performances.
Additional Summer Hours:
Saturday and Sunday
12 to 4 PM
July and August only
$5 suggested donation per visitor supports the care and preservation of the collection.
Book a tour for groups of 10 or larger.
The Museum is handicap accessible and all audio is captioned.
- Visit & Connect
- Support the Museum
Become a Kate Enthusiast! Enjoy complimentary admission to museum programs and receive quarterly e-newsletters.
Current Exhibition: The Importance of Being Kate and ErnestOn Exhibit through November 17, 2023
Katharine Hepburn and playwright Ernest Thompson worked together on two productions—the Academy Award-winning film On Golden Pond and the Broadway play The West Side Waltz. This exhibit features original costumes worn by Hepburn in both productions, an original oil painting by Henry Fonda, as well as photos, awards, and other items associated with these productions.
Museum Talk: Katharine Hepburn, Hollywood Censorship, and the House Un-American Activities
Michael Slowik, associate professor of film studies at Wesleyan University, explores how censorship shaped filmmaking during the Golden Age of Hollywood, from the adoption of the Hayes Code in the 1930s through the investigations of the House Un-American Activities Committee of the 1940s and 1950s.
A Look Back: Past Temporary Exhibits
Take a look back at some of our most recent special temporary exhibits.
The Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award
The Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award is given by the Kate to an individual who embodies the bold spirit, fierce independence, and distinctive character of the legendary actress. It is presented annually at the summer Gala.View Past Recipients
- Explore the Collection
Peruse our Katharine Hepburn Collection through CT Collections.
- Share the History
Do you own a piece of Katharine Hepburn history? Complete the Inquiry Form to tell us about your item(s) and consider a temporary loan or donation to the collection.
- Become a Docent
Interested in learning more about Kate and sharing it with others? Volunteer as a museum docent.
- Gift Shop
Stop at the Gift Shop when visiting or browse Kate-related items in our online shop.
Past Programs & VideosView Library
Katharine Hepburn: Unintentional Trailblazer
Through Kate’s own words, via narration from her autobiography and letters written to her family, plus items from our collection you’ll explore different facets of Katharine Hepburn’s life and cultural impact. Keep in mind that this is not a chronological documentary of the great Kate but an online exhibit.
Costuming Kate in the Studio System: 50 Years
This program discusses the first 50 years of Katharine Hepburn’s film career (from 1932-1982), focusing on the various film studios that she worked with during those years and the wardrobe designers that dressed her. John Davey, Hollywood costume collector and archivist, shows the movements that she made within the various studio systems as well as discuss the relationships she developed with the noted costumers from each studio who created her on-screen wardrobe.
Katharine Hepburn: Image is Everything
An in-depth discussion and analysis of Katharine Hepburn’s grasp on the power of her appearance hosted by Ann Nyberg with Jean Druesedow and Judy Samelson.
History of the Kate
The story of the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center begins over a century ago. Explore the rich history of our 300 Main Street home and learn why the Center is named after the iconic Katharine Hepburn.History