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Travel Briefs 11.04.12

Ken Burns

Ken Burns

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Updated: December 5, 2012 6:07AM

East Coast tour gets special touch from filmmaker Burns

Connecticut’s tourism industry is getting a boost from documentary filmmaker Ken Burns. Burns recently announced that he has joined with a luxury tour group, Tauck Tours of Norwalk, on a redesigned eight-day tour of New England’s “hidden gems,” which will include a two-day stop in Hartford. The company said it added the Hartford stop at Burns’ urging. Best known for his award-winning documentaries on the Civil War and baseball, Burns and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy made the announcement at the Mark Twain House, which will be highlighted on the tour along with the home of 19th century abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” The bus tour will run from June through the fall foliage season, and also include stops at Lexington, Concord, and Fenway Park in Massachusetts, a Shaker community in New Hampshire, and at Burns’ studio in Walpole, N.H. “My mission in making films has always been to explore who we are as Americans,” Burns said. “Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe had a similar goal, at a time when the experience and definition of ‘being an American’ was entirely dictated by the color of one’s skin. These two remarkable individuals asked difficult questions of their country, and we became a better place for it.”

Michigan gardens feature French sculptures

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Mich., is presenting a yearlong exhibition showcasing French sculptor Bernar Venet. Five of Venet’s large-scale sculptures will be on display. The sculptures will be on display until October 2013. Each steel sculpture, ranging in size from 8 to 13 feet high, will be installed on the front lawn, adjacent to the Leslie E. Tassell English Perennial and Bulb Garden. Visit

Bus station museum celebrates Freedom Riders

The Freedom Rides Museum in the old Greyhound Bus Station in Montgomery, Ala., has been selected for a national historic preservation award by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It recognizes the groups behind the museum: the U.S. General Services Administration, the Alabama Historical Commission, the Greyhound Bus Station Advisory Committee and the U.S. Middle District Court of Alabama. They worked together to save the bus station from demolition. It reopened last year as a museum honoring the Freedom Riders. That group set out to integrate Southern bus stations in 1961, but an angry white mob attacked them when they arrived at the Montgomery station. The bus station is next door to the federal courthouse, where landmark civil rights rulings were handed down. Visit

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