Walking Tours, Lectures, Fundraisers, and Other Activities

Lectures usually take place at the Manchester History Center at 175 Pine Street. Parking is available along Pleasant Street and along Forest Street next to the building; parking for people with disabilities is available in the small lot next to (north of) the History Center. The building is accessible. Light refreshments are often served.

The costs for lectures and walking tours varies; some events are free; many of our walks are free for children under 16 accompanied by parents or other adults. Donations are always welcome.

Click here for information on becoming a member!


  • Art classes at the History Center enter at 199 Forest Street. Following the artistic traditions of the Cheney family, classes for children and adults began in July 2019. For class descriptions and registration: Cheney Homestead Arts.

  • The Old Manchester Museum at 126 Cedar Street, open the first Saturday of the month, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. May through December, except holidays; closed January through April, while we work on our new exhibits. It is also open by appointment; the research facility is available all year round by appointment -- phone 860-647-9742.

  • The History Center and museum store, open Tuesday to Friday 10:00 to 2:00. Our offices are located in the former Cheney Machine Shop, 175 Pine Street at the corner of Forest Street -- when our musueum store reopens, you can purchase local-history items such as books on local history, copies of vintage maps, Kage company plastic decorations, Manchester Herald cookbooks, t-shirts with historic scenes of Manchester, copies of high school yearbooks, vintage business directories, mugs, notecards, and limited-edition ceramic tree ornaments with images of Cheney Homestead and other landmarks. There's an exhibit of the Russell barber shop, with barber pole, and vintage barbering tools and furniture, as well as a standing exhibit about Cheney silks. Questions: 860-647-9983.

  • Board meetings of the Historical Society are held at 6:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month at the History Center, 175 Pine Street (except July and August meetings, held at the Old Manchester Museum, 126 Cedar Street, which has better air conditioning!). Members are welcome to attend and may speak or ask questions at the beginning of the meeting. Questions may be directed to 860-647-9983.


  • PLEASE NOTE that the Historical Society is tentatively opening our properties, abiding by pandemic social-distancing rules. Staff will be available by phone and email, and by appointment only. Our main phone: 860-647-9983; staff is at the History Center Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 to 2:00. Or leave a message.

  • Saturdays during June, "Summertimes Past in Manchester,” a 62-minute television program recorded at the Manchester Senior Center on Friday, July 26, 2019. Town Historian, Susan Barlow, presented the illustrated lecture with the opportunity for audience members to comment and add their memories. The show airs at 12:00 noon and 8:00 p.m. on Cox cable channel 15 on Saturdays, and runs on all the Saturdays of the month. The show changes each month. This Channel 15 broadcasts in Manchester, Glastonbury, South Windsor, Wethersfield, Rocky Hill, and Newington. The television show is produced by Susan Barlow, directed by Kathryn Wilson, researched by Jill Gelinas, all volunteers of the Manchester Historical Society. You can watch this month's show on the Public Access website: this month's television show. To see other Society TV shows, type "historical" into the search box.

  • Also of interest at any time during our current pandemic -- "1918, The Flu Hits Manchester,” a 62-minute television show filmed at the History Center on April 7, 2018. Historian and retired State Senator Mary Ann Handley spoke about the terrible flu that killed millions of people worldwide in 1918. Many of Manchester's doctors were in Europe with the troops as the U.S. had entered World War I the previous year. Manchester used Cheney Hall as a sort of hospital, setting up cots for flu patients, there being no hospital in Manchester at the time. At the presentation, newly appointed Town Troubadour Bill Ludwig sang two vintage songs about the flu. The show airs at 12:00 noon and at 8:00 p.m. on Cox cable channel 15 on all the Saturdays of the month. The show changes each month. This Channel 15 broadcasts in Manchester, Glastonbury, South Windsor, Wethersfield, Rocky Hill, and Newington. ou can watch some of our previous television shows online at the Town website Historical shows on demand. You can watch THIS MONTH'S SHOW on the Public Access website "1918, The Flu Hits Manchester" show.

  • We are also happy to provide information on this 2017 interview, "Bob Gorman, 94 Years of Manchester Memories,” a 56-minute television show featuring Manchester resident Bob Gorman telling of his early life in Manchester, the Gorman family's history, and interesting tales from his 94 years of living in the Manchester area. A World War II veteran, Niagara College graduate, and early entrepreneur as a Manchester Herald paperboy, Bob relates stories of the past with humor and gusto. Read about the Gorman construction company Gorman brothers, quarrymen and builders. Our show airs at 12:00 noon and 8:00 p.m. on Cox cable channel 15 on Saturdays, and runs on all the Saturdays of the month. The show changes each month. This Channel 15 broadcasts in Manchester, Glastonbury, South Windsor, Wethersfield, Rocky Hill, and Newington. The television show is produced by Susan Barlow, directed by Kathryn Wilson, researched by Jill Gelinas, all volunteers of the Manchester Historical Society. You can watch this show on the Public Access website "94 Years of Manchester Memories."

  • Our 2nd Tuesday genealogy meetings will return in the fall -- these are meetings for both amateur and more experienced genealogists, exploring topics in genealogy, helping each other with research and in overcoming roadblocks. Some meetings have guest speakers, and some have round-table discussions, sharing ideas, techniques, successes, and problems. We meet at the Manchester History Center, 175 Pine Street. The Genealogy Group consists of Historical Society members, but non-members are also welcome ($3.00 fee for non-members). The group usually meets on the second Tuesday of the month, except December, July, August. Visit Genealogy Page to find out more about the group, contact the coordinator, or read information about previous meetings and presentations.

  • Monday, June 22 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., online Civil Rights Music program presented by Manchester Community College Professor of Music Dr. Deborah Simmons. “Music and the Civil Rights Movement,” an hour of music, history, and learning, followed by a Q&A session. Music can mobilize, inspire, and empower, both during the Civil Rights movements of the past and today. Zoom meeting i.d. 946 5484 0289. The meeting will be recorded & shared. By entering the Zoom meeting you are consenting to be recorded. Information about our bi-weekly History Hour talks is detailed in our free e-newsletter. To sign up, click the red rectangle ("sign up for free e-news) on our home page www.manchesterhistory.org.

  • Sunday, June 28 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m., second annual children's duck race and open house at the Woodbridge Farmstead, 495 East Middle Turnpike. Free. Visit the restored eighteenth-century barn, possibly some first-floor rooms in the 1830s house, and the grounds of this historic property. The Farmstead is located at Manchester Green, near the intersection of East Middle Turnpike with Woodbridge Street. The barn, located behind (north of) the house, was restored with funds from the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office, the SBM Charitable Foundation, Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, and individual donors. Visitors can park at the municipal lot behind the Senior Center, in the lot behind the barns, or along the street between the Senior Center and the farmstead itself. From the street, walk to the backyard using the grass driveway between the house and Woodbridge Pizza. The Woodbridge farmstead is on the National Register of Historic Places. Tour guides will describe the barn, and displays of farm tools and equipment. The farm was donated to the Manchester Historical Society by Ray and Thelma Woodbridge in 1998. Additional open houses with various activities are planned for the second and fourth Sundays of the months May through October. For a poster with old and new photos, click Woodbridge open house.

  • Sunday, July 12 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m., open house at the Woodbridge Farmstead, 495 East Middle Turnpike. Free. Visit the restored eighteenth-century barn, the first floor rooms in the 1830s house, and the grounds of this historic property. The Farmstead is located at Manchester Green, near the intersection of East Middle Turnpike with Woodbridge Street. The barn, located behind (north of) the house, was restored with funds from the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office, the SBM Charitable Foundation, Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, and individual donors. Visitors can park at the municipal lot behind the Senior Center, in the lot behind the barns, or along the street between the Senior Center and the farmstead itself. From the street, walk to the backyard using the grass driveway between the house and Woodbridge Pizza. The Woodbridge farmstead is on the National Register of Historic Places. Tour guides will describe the barn, and displays of farm tools and equipment. The farm was donated to the Manchester Historical Society by Ray and Thelma Woodbridge in 1998. Additional open houses with various activities are planned for the second and fourth Sundays of the months May through October. For a poster with old and new photos, click Woodbridge open house.

  • Sunday, July 12 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Open House at the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road. Visit the gardens and grounds at this early American homestead. The property was donated to the Manchester Historical Society by the Cheney family in 1968 for use as a house museum. Guided tours include the 1751 Keeney Schoolhouse, history of the Homestead and its contents, and of the family who lived there. As with many New England homesteads, the house is built into a hill, with doors opening out to the yard on both the upper and lower levels. For old photos and history of the Homestead on this website, visit Cheney Homestead history. We plan Open Houses generally on the second Sunday of the month. Donations welcomed for the upkeep of the Homestead.

  • Sunday, July 26 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m., open house at the Woodbridge Farmstead, 495 East Middle Turnpike. Free. Visit the restored eighteenth-century barn, the first floor rooms in the 1830s house, and the grounds of this historic property. The Farmstead is located at Manchester Green, near the intersection of East Middle Turnpike with Woodbridge Street. The barn, located behind (north of) the house, was restored with funds from the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office, the SBM Charitable Foundation, Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, and individual donors. Visitors can park at the municipal lot behind the Senior Center, in the lot behind the barns, or along the street between the Senior Center and the farmstead itself. From the street, walk to the backyard using the grass driveway between the house and Woodbridge Pizza. The Woodbridge farmstead is on the National Register of Historic Places. Tour guides will describe the barn, and displays of farm tools and equipment. The farm was donated to the Manchester Historical Society by Ray and Thelma Woodbridge in 1998. Additional open houses with various activities are planned for the second and fourth Sundays of the months May through October. For a poster with old and new photos, click Woodbridge open house.

  • Sunday, August 9 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m., open house at the Woodbridge Farmstead, 495 East Middle Turnpike. Free. Visit the restored eighteenth-century barn, the first floor rooms in the 1830s house, and the grounds of this historic property. The Farmstead is located at Manchester Green, near the intersection of East Middle Turnpike with Woodbridge Street. The barn, located behind (north of) the house, was restored with funds from the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office, the SBM Charitable Foundation, Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, and individual donors. Visitors can park at the municipal lot behind the Senior Center, in the lot behind the barns, or along the street between the Senior Center and the farmstead itself. From the street, walk to the backyard using the grass driveway between the house and Woodbridge Pizza. The Woodbridge farmstead is on the National Register of Historic Places. Tour guides will describe the barn, and displays of farm tools and equipment. The farm was donated to the Manchester Historical Society by Ray and Thelma Woodbridge in 1998. Additional open houses with various activities are planned for the second and fourth Sundays of the months May through October. For a poster with old and new photos, click Woodbridge open house.

  • Sunday, August 9 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Open House at the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road. Tour this historic property, including grounds and gardens, and possibly inside at the Homestead Art Gallery where you will be inspired by Manchester's rich history in art. The 1785 Homesteadwhich was donated to the Manchester Historical Society by the Cheney family in 1968 for use as a house museum. Guided tours include the 1751 Keeney Schoolhouse, history of the Homestead and its contents, and of the family who lived there. As with many New England homesteads, the house is built into a hill, with doors opening out to the yard on both the upper and lower levels. For old photos and history of the Homestead on this website, visit Cheney Homestead history. We plan Open Houses generally on the second Sunday of the month. Donations welcomed for the upkeep of the Homestead.

  • Sunday, September 20 at 2:00 p.m., tentative date for the annual meeting of the Historical Society, at the History Center, 175 Pine Street. Details to come.

  • Saturday, October 10, the 45th annual walking tour of the Cheney Historic District with commentary by Dr. Christopher Paulin of Manchester Community College, 1:00 p.m. Popular history walk starting at Fuss & O'Neill, 146 Hartford Road (plenty of parking in the lots west and south of the building). Find out about those huge brick buildings that remain from the days of the world-famous silk mills. Who worked there? Who owned the mills? Where did workers and owners live? This event is co-sponsored by Manchester Community College, the Cheney District commission, and the Manchester Historical Society. We’ll see Cheney Hall, the former silk mills, the location of the former South Manchester Railroad, the Loom exhibit at the former Cheney machine shop, neighborhoods of worker housing, and Washington School. The walk takes about two hours with a distance of a mile or so. No rain date, so bring umbrellas if weather is iffy. Extreme weather cancels. The walk is free, but donations to the Manchester Historical Society are welcome. The District walking tour began in 1976 under the leadership of Manchester Community College faculty members John Sutherland and the late Tom Lewis. Christopher Paulin has continued the tradition. To view a map of the District on this website, click Cheney Landmark District. Photo on right: the 2009 walking tour.

  • Tentative: Sunday, November 1 at 1:00 and 3:30 p.m. "The Day the President Came to Town" -- an original one-act play presented at the History Center, 175 Pine Street. The play is set at Manchester Green, where President George Washington stopped on November 9, 1789. Deodat Woodbridge, tavern keeper, said in his diary: "...before resuming his journey to Hartford, he asked my little Electa [Mr. Woodbridge's daughter] for a glass of water from our well and gave her a sixpence for her pains." During this visit the President may have spoken with local residents, and the play imagines what those conversations might have been. The Historical Society is proud to host this third play by Walt Scadden. Tickets will cost $10 for members, $12 for non-members, and will be available online and at the History Center this fall.

  • "The Mystique of Silk” exhibit at the History Center, open during regular hours. This exhibit was created by the Cheney Cemetery Association's President, Carol Cheney, great-granddaughter of Knight Dexter Cheney, President of Cheneys from 1894 to 1907. Carol describes the exhibit as commemorating "the 100th anniversary of the Cheney Cemetery Association in 2016, and the enduring Cheney Family legacy of innovation and good will. The family expresses deep gratitude to the generations of Cheney Brothers employees whose dedicated service helped build the Town of Manchester." "Design, advertising, and sales of Cheney silks were handled at the company’s New York offices. Much can be learned about the Cheney Brothers brand from their advertisements in high-end magazines of the day. These ads emphasized life style and corporate image over product details." The framed ads in the exhibit are from Carol Cheney's collection. These stunning advertisements for Cheney silks were displayed at MCC On Main during June 2016. Additional information about the exhibit, written by Carol Cheney, describes "the aura of elegance and luxury" that these Cheney advertisements emphasized.


    The Old Manchester Museum's research facility at 126 Cedar Street is open year 'round. Please phone the curator at 860-647-9742 to make an appointment to conduct research.