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.

  • Saturdays during Febuary, "From Northern Ireland to Manchester,” a 52-minute television show featuring genealogist and researcher Crawford Westbrook, who spoke at the Manchester History Center on November 14, 2017, presenting an illustrated talk about the immigration of Northern Irish to the United States and to Manchester, sometimes a circuitous journey. Crawford described how to track down family members and how to avoid various pitfalls in research, such as variations in the spelling of names. 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 on the Public Access website "Northern Irish Immigration" show.

  • Saturday and Sunday February 24 and 25 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and through March 23, weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Black History Month exhibit at the History Center, 175 Pine Street. This exhibit describes the six African American soldiers from Manchester who enlisted in the 29th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry. There's information on each man from his enlistment, to the battles in which he fought, and his life after the Civil War. The exhibit is also open on subsequent weekends by appointment; phone 860-647-9983 weekdays to make an appointment. The museum store will be open during exhibit hours for local history books, maps, notecards, t-shirts, coffee mugs, and Herald cookbooks. The Cheney silk advertisement exhibit is also on display.

  • Sunday, March 11 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Fiber Arts Fun at the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road. Bring clean, colorful cotton rags as we kick off our Community Rag Rug project! We’ll use a historic loom to create a rug. We are also welcoming instructors from the Hartford Artisan Weaving Center – they will teach the art of weaving, in hands-on work with the public. Sue Muldoon will demonstrate the craft of chair caning and rush seat weaving. All ages welcome. 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 levels. 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 website, visit Cheney Homestead history. We plan Open Houses on the second Sunday of the month. Donations welcomed for the upkeep of the Homestead.

  • Tuesday, March 13 at 10:00 a.m., the Historical Society's Genealogy Group -- a meeting for both amateur and more experienced genealogists. This month's theme to be announced. Members of the Genealogy Group will be available to meet with any attendee who has questions or needs help regarding their research. 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 coordinators, or read information about previous meetings and presentations.

  • Sunday, April 8 at 1:00 p.m., "The Terrible Flu in Manchester, 1918" -- a lecture on the hundredth anniversary of the influenza epidemic of 1918, at the History Center, 175 Pine Street. Former State Senator Mary Ann Handley will present this informative talk. A retired Manchester Community College history professor, Mary Ann has conducted research on this topic, and at the lecture will establish a foundation for understanding the medical and statistical aspects of the flu, as well as typical versus flu death rates of this time in American and local history. She will present information about Manchester's response to the flu. The talk will be followed by a question-and-answer period. The public is invited. Parking for the lecture is available along Pleasant Street, off Forest Street (no on-street parking) as well as in a small lot north of the History Center. $5 for non-members, $3 for Society members, and free for children under age 16. Light refreshments served. Photo at left: old drawing of Cheney Hall, which served as a hospital in 1918, with cots for those stricken with the flu.

  • Sunday, April 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 levels. 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 website, visit Cheney Homestead history. We plan Open Houses on the second Sunday of the month. Donations welcomed for the upkeep of the Homestead.

  • Tuesday, April 10 at 10:00 a.m., the Historical Society's Genealogy Group -- a meeting for both amateur and more experienced genealogists. This month's theme to be announced. Members of the Genealogy Group will be available to meet with any attendee who has questions or needs help regarding their research. 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 coordinators, or read information about previous meetings and presentations.

  • Sunday, April 29, a Jewelry Tea at the History Center, from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m., SAVE THE DATE! Serving brewed tea in china cups and light fare, both savory and sweet. All welcome to this entertaining and elegant afternoon -- bring a friend and neighbor. $30 per person. A printable invitation will be available soon. The History Center is located at 175 Pine Street.

  • Sunday, May 6 at 1:00 p.m., "Flying Tigers" -- illustrated presentation by Tom Pandolfi at the Manchester History Center, 175 Pine Street. Tom's background includes Green Berets, 27 months in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, beginning in 1961. While in Thailand, he met farmers who helped Gen. Claire Chennault build airfields for the “American Volunteer Group” (AVG), later to be known as the “Flying Tigers.” He has collected memorabilia and made airplane models of the “Flying Tigers” and has visited China twice, courtesy of the Chinese Government where the “Flying Tigers” are still considered national heroes for helping China defeat the Japanese. He lives in Woodstock, CT with his wife and is a retired flight manager. He devotes all his time now to veterans care and issues. The talk will be followed by a question-and-answer period. Light refreshments will be served. Parking for the lecture is available along Pleasant Street, off Forest Street (no on-street parking) as well as in a small lot north of the History Center.

  • Saturday, May 12, Family History Day at Manchester's Town Hall from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., free and helpful as you learn how to do genealogical research. Manchester Historical Society will have a booth, so please drop by! All are welcome -- beginners, advanced, non-residents and residents. Out-of-towners welcome. The Town Clerk's office and vault will be open for records of birth, marriage, death, probate, land, and military service. Other booths will provide information about research and resources. Come and meet experts in the field. The Town Hall is located at 41 Center Street, with plenty of free parking behind the building. Park and enter at back. Cameras and other electronics and photographic devices not permitted. The photo on the right shows record books available at the Town Clerk's office.

  • Sunday, May 13 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 levels. 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 website, visit Cheney Homestead history. We plan Open Houses on the second Sunday of the month. Donations welcomed for the upkeep of the Homestead.

  • "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.


    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.