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, 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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  • Art & Artisan Crafts at the Cheney Homestead 106 Hartford Road. Following the artistic traditions of the Cheney family, the Cheney Homestead will offer ongoing art classes for children and adults beginning in July 2019. For class descriptions and registration: Art at the Homestead

  • 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 August and noon to 2:00 p.m. September to April, except holidays. It is also 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, open Monday to Friday 10:00 to 2:00, are located in the former Cheney Machine Shop, 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. 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 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. Dates: 7/17, 8/21, 9/18, 10/16. Questions may be directed to 860-647-9983.


  • Monday, July 22 through Friday, July 26, from 9:00 to noon, Monotype Printing and Book Arts at the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road. A special art class to inspire you as you create your own paper and book, exploring color and design, using Gelli Plates to print papers for hand-made journals. Participants will spend three mornings printing and may use leaves, combs, and found items to build a stack of textured papers which will be used in the creation of books on the last two mornings. Taught by artist Trudy Mitchell of Bolton, Connecticut. Fee: $180 + $10 materials fee. More information, including class description, registration form: Art at the Homestead. Classes are open to all, no experience necessary; adults and children age nine and up.

  • Monday, July 22 through Friday, July 26, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Drawing the Summer Landscape 106 Hartford Road. Enjoy five afternoons of drawing en plein aire on the beautiful grounds of the Cheney Homestead. In this time, we will focus on preparing studies which may be developed independently as the Homestead welcomes artists carrying on the artistic tradition of the Cheney family. Participants will focus on developing sound compositions, accurate lines of perspective, a convincing structure of light and shadow and a system of color notes for future reference. More information, including class description, registration form: Art at the Homestead. Classes are open to all, no experience necessary; adults and children age nine and up.

  • Sunday, July 28 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m., Blueberry-themed Open House at the Woodbridge barn and grounds, weather permitting, 495 East Middle Turnpike. Free. All things blueberry! Blueberry muffins, ice cream, and even tea. Bruce Perry will enthrall children and adults with his "What is it?" antique tools for the kitchen. Imagination Playground will also pay a visit with Giant Foam Building Blocks. Visit the restored eighteenth-century barn and the grounds of the Society's Woodbridge 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, 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. There are tour guides to 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 on the second and fourth Sundays of the months July through October. For a poster with old and new photos, click Woodbridge barn open house.

  • Saturdays during July, "American Legion Post 102 Restored,” an 81-minute television program about the process of restoring the historic American Legion building that was nearly destroyed by a fire. The TV program, recorded May 21, 2019, tours the building, and talks with Legion members who worked on the rebuilding. 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. Above right: the restored roof sign of the American Legion. You can watch this month's show on the Public Access website: 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.

  • Saturday, August 3 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Old Manchester Museum open, 126 Cedar Street. Visit the former Cheney School, built in 1859, and view permanent exhibits, maps, school information. The Manchester Sports Hall of Fame is located in this building. Guides will be available to answer questions. Parking along the (one-way) street, or in the lot at the corner of Cedar and Cooper Hill Streets, right next to the museum. A small museum shop is open, with books and maps about local history. The museum will be open the first Saturday of the month through December. More about the museum here.

  • Sunday, August 11 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., “Climate Change 1816: The Year with No Summer" and open house at the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road. At 2:00 p.m., special guest Tim Lavigne, former Channel 61 meteorologist and Emmy award nominee, will discuss the bizarre events that caused summer snows and crop failures in New England and across Europe. We will relate the impact to the young family at the Homestead. Visit the gardens, grounds, house and the recently opened Homestead Art Gallery and 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. Donations welcomed for the upkeep of the Homestead.

  • Sunday, August 11 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m., Open House at the Woodbridge barn and grounds, weather permitting, 495 East Middle Turnpike. Free. Visit the restored eighteenth-century barn and the grounds of the Society's Woodbridge 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, 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. There are tour guides to 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 on the second and fourth Sundays of the months July through October. For a poster with old and new photos, click Woodbridge barn open house.

  • Sunday, August 25 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m., Open House at the Woodbridge barn and grounds, weather permitting, 495 East Middle Turnpike. Free. Visit the restored eighteenth-century barn and the grounds of the Society's Woodbridge 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, 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. There are tour guides to 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 on the second and fourth Sundays of the months July through October. For a poster with old and new photos, click Woodbridge barn open house.

  • Sunday, September 8 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Open House at the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road. Visit this early American home, including the recently opened Homestead Art Gallery and be inspired by Manchester's rich history in art. Tour 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 8 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m., Open House at the Woodbridge barn and grounds, weather permitting, 495 East Middle Turnpike. Free. Visit the restored eighteenth-century barn and the grounds of the Society's Woodbridge 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, 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. There are tour guides to 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 on the second and fourth Sundays of the months July through October. For a poster with old and new photos, click Woodbridge barn open house.

  • Sunday, September 22 at 1:00 p.m., annual member meeting of the Manchester Historical Society at The History Center, 175 Pine Street. Financial and activity reports, membership vote on proposed slates of officers and directors, other items of general interest. Financial statements are included in the December 2018 Courier.

  • Sunday, September 22 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m., Open House at the Woodbridge barn and grounds, weather permitting, 495 East Middle Turnpike. Free. Visit the restored eighteenth-century barn and the grounds of the Society's Woodbridge 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, 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. There are tour guides to 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 on the second and fourth Sundays of the months July through October. For a poster with old and new photos, click Woodbridge barn open house.

  • Saturday, October 5, the 43rd 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 13 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Open House at the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road. Visit this early American home, including the recently opened Homestead Art Gallery and be inspired by Manchester's rich history in art. Tour 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, October 13 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m., Open House at the Woodbridge barn and grounds, weather permitting, 495 East Middle Turnpike. Free. Visit the restored eighteenth-century barn and the grounds of the Society's Woodbridge 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, 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. There are tour guides to 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 on the second and fourth Sundays of the months July through October. For a poster with old and new photos, click Woodbridge barn open house.

  • Sunday, October 28 at 1:00 p.m., "Votes for Women, 1919" -- a lecture on the hundredth anniversary of American women's right to vote. Former State Senator Mary Ann Handley will present this informative talk at the History Center, 175 Pine Street, Manchester. Mary Ann, a retired Manchester Community College history professor, has conducted research on this topic, and at the lecture will establish a foundation for understanding the background of the equal suffrage movement, and the controversies and disputes that delayed voting privileges for women. She will present information about Manchester's involvement in the work to bring about change. 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. Photo at left: Connecticut suffragists, 1919.

  • Saturday, November 2, North End walking tour starting at 1:00 p.m. at the parking lot of the Eighth Utilities District offices, 18 Main Street, corner of Hilliard and Main. Stroll to the former Mather Electric/Bon Ami building, and view the location of the former Depot Square as well as many historic buildings still in existence. The walk takes about one and a half hours. Read about the North End, also known as "Union Village" at: Walking Tour Flyer: North End. Union Village is on the National Register of Historic Places, and includes historic icons such as the Second Congregational Church and the Whiton Memorial Library. The photo at left shows the Pohlman Cigar Store, formerly in the "Downtown" area of the North End. The walk will be held rain or shine, but extreme weather cancels. Check this website for last-minute changes. Please bring bottled water. No dogs, please. Cost is $3 for Historical Society members, $4 for non-members, and free to children under 16 years of age.

  • "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.