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 the History Center. The building is accessible. Light refreshments are often served.

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

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  • The Old Manchester Museum at 126 Cedar Street, open by appointment -- phone 860-647-9983. The research facility is available all year round -- to make an appointment, please phone 860-647-9742.

  • The History Center and museum store are generally open weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. , 175 Pine Street at the corner of Forest Street -- where 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 is also a study area where visitors can conduct research by browsing through old Manchester directories, surveys, high school yearbooks, and booklets. 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. Please check to make sure the building is open before coming! 860-647-9983.

  • "The Mystique of Silk” exhibit at the History Center, open during regular hours, weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., but please phone 860-647-9983 to double-check if open. 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.

  • Sunday, August 27 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Open House at the Woodbridge barn and grounds, 495 East Middle Turnpike. Free. Visit the restored eighteenth-century barn and the grounds of the Society's Woodbridge property on the second and fourth Sundays of the month: Also, September 10, September 24, October 8, October 22, November 12; also, Saturday, December 2 as part of the holiday open house. 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, 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. The Historical Society is in the process of developing displays of farm tools and equipment. The farm was donated to the Manchester Historical Society by Ray and Thelma Woodbridge in 1998. For a poster with old and new photos, click Woodbridge barn open house.

  • Saturdays during August, "The World of Charles Adams Platt,” with Keith N. Morgan, a 59-minute television show of an illustrated program about artist and architect Charles Adams Platt (1861-1933), who had a national reputation as an etcher, painter, landscape designer, and architect. Platt was a member of the Cheney family and is buried in the family cemetery in Manchester. Keith N. Morgan, author, scholar, and professor of the history of art and architecture at Boston University, presented the lecture in June 2016, discussing Platt’s multiple careers and his work for the nation at large, as well as for Cheney family members in Manchester – including several of the mansions on the Great Lawn along Hartford Road. Platt was a central figure in American art and architecture from the late nineteenth century until the Great Depression. The free lecture was sponsored by the Cheney family, and was held at Cheney Hall, Manchester. Visit architects to find out more about Platt, Stanford White, H. H. Richardson, and other architects who designed buildings in Manchester. The illustration above right, is one of Professor Morgan's slides, showing on the left Platt's work, and a Platt portrait on the right. The TV show is produced by Historical Society volunteers. The show airs at 12:00 noon and at 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. Some previous local-history shows can be borrowed at Mary Cheney Library, or purchased at the Historical Society Museum Store. The television show is produced by Susan Barlow and directed by Kathryn Wilson, volunteers of the Manchester Historical Society. If you are having trouble viewing the Public Access channels, please phone Cox cable -- you may need a converter box. You can watch some of our previous television shows online at the Town web site Historical shows on demand. You can watch this month's show on the Public Access website Current TV Programs on Manchester Public Access.

  • Sunday, September 10 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Open House at the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road. Special program to be announced. View the 1785 house, and hear commentary about the residence, which was donated to the Manchester Historical Society by the Cheney family in 1968 for use as a house museum. Guided tours include history of the building 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 level. The Keeney Schoolhouse is on the grounds of the Homestead, and is open when the weather is warm enough. For old photos and history of the Homestead on this web site, visit Cheney Homestead history. We plan Open Houses on the second Sunday of the month. Donations accepted for the upkeep of the Homestead.

  • Sunday, September 10 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Open House at the Woodbridge barn and grounds, 495 East Middle Turnpike. Free. Visit the restored eighteenth-century barn and the grounds of the Society's Woodbridge property on the second and fourth Sundays of the month: Also, September 24, October 8, October 22, November 12; also, Saturday, December 2 as part of the holiday open house. 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, 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. The Historical Society is in the process of developing displays of farm tools and equipment. The farm was donated to the Manchester Historical Society by Ray and Thelma Woodbridge in 1998. For a poster with old and new photos, click Woodbridge barn open house.

  • Sunday, September 17, "Dancing with the Celebrities, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. at Cheney Hall, 177 Hartford Road. Featuring local celebrities, presenting a special dance with their partners. Instructors courtesy of Arthur Murray Dance Centers of Vernon, Connecticut. Special guest and Mistress of Cermonies, Barbara Cheney, who is an award-winning ballroom dancer. Wine, beer, soda, and water will be available for purchase. Come enjoy the fun and festivity. Buy tickets to vote for your favorite dancer. Admission $15 for ages 13 to adult, and $5 for ages 12 and under. Click printable invitation here. Please return form with payment by September 14 to the History Center, 175 Pine St., Manchester, CT 06040 (address and more info also listed on the invitation). Please write "Dancing" on the outside of the envelope (or drop off the form and payment at the History Center, weekdays 10:00 to 2:00.

  • Sunday, September 24 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Open House at the Woodbridge barn and grounds, 495 East Middle Turnpike. Free. Visit the restored eighteenth-century barn and the grounds of the Society's Woodbridge property on the second and fourth Sundays of the month: Also, October 8, October 22, November 12; also, Saturday, December 2 as part of the holiday open house. 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, 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. The Historical Society is in the process of developing displays of farm tools and equipment. The farm was donated to the Manchester Historical Society by Ray and Thelma Woodbridge in 1998. For a poster with old and new photos, click Woodbridge barn open house.

  • Sunday, October 1, (NOTE DATE) Hilliard Mills walk and tour, 1:00 p.m.: Meet at 642 Hilliard Street for a walking tour and commentary about the historic buildings in the Hilliardville section of Manchester, including the country's oldest woolen mill. This section of town is named for the Hilliard family, but it was the Pitkin family that started the mills in the eighteenth century. At one time, Hilliard pond, created by damming up Bigelow Brook, provided water power to the woolen mills. Today the mill complex is owned by Peter Bonzani and partners; Peter and Society volunteer Susan Barlow will present information and stories about the mills. We will tour building interiors and also walk outside about a half mile, encountering uneven and possibly wet terrain. Rain or shine, so please bring an umbrella if weather is wet. $7 for non-members, $5 for members, free for children under 16. For additional information about Hilliard Mills on this web site, click here.

  • Friday, in October, date to be announced, annual meeting and annual dinner at the Manchester Country Club, 305 South Main Street, Manchester, starting at 5:30 p.m. More information and an invitation soon. Save the date!

  • Saturday, October 7, the 41st annual walking tour of the Cheney Historic District with commentary by Dr. Chris Paulin of Manchester Community College, 1:00 p.m. Popular history walk starting at Fuss & O'Neill, 146 Hartford Road (plenty of parking in their lot west 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 and the Manchester Historical Society. We’ll see Cheney Hall, the former silk mills, the location of the defunct 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 Tom Lewis. Chris Paulin has continued the tradition. To view a map of the District on this web site, click Cheney Landmark District. Photo on right: the 2009 walking tour.

  • Sunday, October 8 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Open House at the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road. Special program to be announced. View the 1785 house, and hear commentary about the residence, which was donated to the Manchester Historical Society by the Cheney family in 1968 for use as a house museum. Guided tours include history of the building 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 level. The Keeney Schoolhouse is on the grounds of the Homestead, and is open when the weather is warm enough. For old photos and history of the Homestead on this web site, visit Cheney Homestead history. We plan Open Houses on the second Sunday of the month. Donations accepted for the upkeep of the Homestead.

  • Sunday, October 8 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Open House at the Woodbridge barn and grounds, 495 East Middle Turnpike. Free. Visit the restored eighteenth-century barn and the grounds of the Society's Woodbridge property on the second and fourth Sundays of the month: Also, October 22, November 12; also, Saturday, December 2 as part of the holiday open house. 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, 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. The Historical Society is in the process of developing displays of farm tools and equipment. The farm was donated to the Manchester Historical Society by Ray and Thelma Woodbridge in 1998. For a poster with old and new photos, click Woodbridge barn open house.

  • Sunday, October 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Open House at the Woodbridge barn and grounds, 495 East Middle Turnpike. Free. Visit the restored eighteenth-century barn and the grounds of the Society's Woodbridge property on the second and fourth Sundays of the month: Also, November 12; also, Saturday, December 2 as part of the holiday open house. 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, 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. The Historical Society is in the process of developing displays of farm tools and equipment. The farm was donated to the Manchester Historical Society by Ray and Thelma Woodbridge in 1998. For a poster with old and new photos, click Woodbridge barn open house.

  • Sunday, November 12 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Open House at the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road. Special program to be announced. View the 1785 house, and hear commentary about the residence, which was donated to the Manchester Historical Society by the Cheney family in 1968 for use as a house museum. Guided tours include history of the building 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 level. The Keeney Schoolhouse is on the grounds of the Homestead, and is open when the weather is warm enough. For old photos and history of the Homestead on this web site, visit Cheney Homestead history. We plan Open Houses on the second Sunday of the month. Donations accepted for the upkeep of the Homestead.

  • Sunday, November 12 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Open House at the Woodbridge barn and grounds, 495 East Middle Turnpike. Free. Visit the restored eighteenth-century barn and the grounds of the Society's Woodbridge property on the second and fourth Sundays of the month: Also, Saturday, December 2 as part of the holiday open house. 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, 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. The Historical Society is in the process of developing displays of farm tools and equipment. The farm was donated to the Manchester Historical Society by Ray and Thelma Woodbridge in 1998. For a poster with old and new photos, click Woodbridge barn open house.

  • Friday, December 1, Holiday Gala at the Adams Mill Restaurant, 165 Adams St, Manchester, starting at 5:30 p.m. More information and an invitation soon. Save the date!

  • Saturday, December 2 from 11:00 to 3:00 p.m., Open House: throughout the historic district -- all are invited to visit the Cheney Homestead at 106 Hartford Road -- decorated for the holidays by the Manchester Garden Club -- the Manchester History Center at 175 Pine Street, the Old Manchester Museum at 126 Cedar Street, and the historic barn at the Woodbridge property, 495 Middle Turnpike East. The museum stores at the History Center and Old Manchester Museum will be open, with books on local history, copies of vintage maps, t-shirts with historic scenes of Manchester, mugs, notecards, and limited-edition ceramic tree ornaments with our historic properties. The open houses are free -- donations accepted. Take a self-guided walking tour between the South Manchester properties using the Historic District map on our website.

  • Sunday, December 10 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Open House at the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road. Special program to be announced. View the 1785 house, and hear commentary about the residence, which was donated to the Manchester Historical Society by the Cheney family in 1968 for use as a house museum. Guided tours include history of the building 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 level. The Keeney Schoolhouse is on the grounds of the Homestead, and is open when the weather is warm enough. For old photos and history of the Homestead on this web site, visit Cheney Homestead history. We plan Open Houses on the second Sunday of the month. Donations accepted for the upkeep of the Homestead.


    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.