Walking Tours, Lectures, Fundraisers, and Other Activities

Lectures 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. 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.

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  • Open Wednesday through Friday 10:00 to 2:00 and Saturdays from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m., "Then and Now" at the History Center, 175 Pine Street. The Manchester Historical Society received a $4999 grant from Connecticut Humanities (CTH) to create the exhibit, which showcases the history of Manchester from pre-Colonial times to the present, and illustrates Manchesterís contributions to the arts and industry. The exhibit tells the story of how people from around the globe and from diverse backgrounds came to call Manchester home. The goal of this exhibit is to illustrate how Manchesterís past relates to the present day. Visitors will be invited to consider how today's choices can shape the future. The Society is grateful to the CTH and our private donors for supporting this professionally designed and installed exhibit. Free.

  • Saturdays during March, "Living without Electricity in 2018 and 1818,Ē a 67-minute television show featuring gardener and Homestead volunteer Bettylou Sandy, who spoke at the Manchester History Center on February 4, 2018. Bettylou says, "Historically, most people in Manchester have lived a lifetime without electricity. Today the power goes out and we panic. In this talk, demonstrations, and discussion, we will relive 200 years of history to learn to save electricity and live a simpler lifestyle, while saving money!" 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. Some previous local-history shows can be borrowed at Mary Cheney Library. You can watch this month's show RIGHT NOW on the Public Access website "Living without Electricity" show.

  • 23 Bicentennial history walks throughout Manchester, commemorating our town's past and celebrating our future. The walks takes place rain or shine. The series of free walks continues through November 25, with a December 2 rain date. Guests who participate in at least 10 walks will be eligible for a free commemorative coin (first 200 winners) and a reception at the History Center on Sunday, December 31, 2023 at 1:00 p.m., celebrating Manchester and its 200th birthday. Click here to see the booklet with dates, times, and locations. Printed copies of the free booklet are available at Town Hall customer service, Town libraries, and at the Manchester History Center during regular hours.

  • Sunday, March 5, from 1:00 to 4:00, special lecture and exhibit-dedication at the History Center, 175 Pine Street. As we celebrate the "Women of the Cheney Homestead" exhibit, we welcome the public for MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Professor Margery Resnick's talk about MITís first female graduate, Professor Ellen Swallow Richards (1873), and her student, Margaret Swan Cheney, who was born at the Cheney Homestead in 1855. Following the presentation, guests may visit the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road, to view the exhibit room dedicated to the women of the Cheney family who lived at the Homestead during its 238-year history. Refreshments will be served. More about Margaret Swan Cheney.

  • Sunday, March 12, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., open house at the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road. The afternoon includes tours of the historic property, including grounds, gardens, and inside at the Homestead and its new Women of the Homestead exhibit, and art gallery where you will be inspired by Manchester's rich history in art. The 1785 Homestead 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. Suggested $5 donation for the upkeep of the Homestead. Masks and social distancing may be required. Please note, no open house in April.

  • Sunday, March 19, at 1:00 p.m., lectures by Bettylou Sandy and Dennis Gleeson at the History Center, 175 Pine Street. As we celebrate Manchester's 200th birthday, we'll hear about the early history of the Cheney family and of the emergence of the Cheney mill empire. All welcome. Guests will also hve the opportunity to see the exhibit "Then and Now."

  • The Old Manchester Museum at 126 Cedar Street, is open the first Saturday of the month, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. May through December except holidays; closed December through April. 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. Our offices are open Wednesday through Friday 10:00 to 2:00; located in the former Cheney Machine Shop, 175 Pine Street at the corner of Forest Street -- our museum store sells 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. Questions: 860-647-9983.

  • 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.

  • Board meetings of the Historical Society are held at 4:00 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month at the History Center, 175 Pine Street. 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.

  • The Historical Society follows CDC, State, and Town guidelines for pandemic social-distancing and face masks.