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.

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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: 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, 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'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.


  • Saturdays during January, "Diaries and Memoirs of Manchester,” a 44-minute television show produced in 2011, reviewing some of the books and diaries written by Manchester residents, including members of the Woodbridge, Childs, and Cheney families, and a set of diaries of Olympic athlete Joe McCluskey that were nearly lost to posterity. Susan Barlow hosts this program. 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. 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, directed by Kathryn Wilson, researched by Jill Gelinas, all volunteers of the Manchester Historical Society. You 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 "Diaries and Memoirs" TV Show on Public Access TV.

  • Sunday, February 9 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Open House at the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road. Tradtional crafts for all as you 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.

  • Tuesday, February 11 at 10:00 a.m., the Historical Society's Genealogy Group -- a meeting for both amateur and more experienced genealogists, as we explore topics in genealogy, helping each other with research and in overcoming roadblocks. Topic to be determined. 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.

  • Thursday, February 20, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m., Movie Night at the History Center, 175 Pine Street, second in our "Third Thursday" series -- "Winter Classics: Frank Capra's Enduring Legacy," following the format of classic movie and discussion. This month showing the 1936 "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town," with Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur. Hosts David Garnes and Peter Millett. Suggested donation $2 per person; $5 per family of 3 or more. Refreshments available for purchase. Also, March 19 (see below for more info).

  • Sunday, March 8 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Open House at the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road. Tradtional crafts for all as you 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.

  • Tuesday, March 10 at 10:00 a.m., the Historical Society's Genealogy Group -- a meeting for both amateur and more experienced genealogists, as we explore topics in genealogy, helping each other with research and in overcoming roadblocks. This month, we'll welcome again professional genealogist Meagan Cairns, Adult Programming Librarian at the Rockville Public Library in Vernon, CT. Before moving to Connecticut, she worked for the East Baton Rouge Parish Library in Louisiana, where she began teaching genealogy classes in 2018. She currently specializes in Connecticut, Louisiana, DNA, and Deep South African-American Ancestry research. She is a member of the Connecticut Society of Genealogists. 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.

  • Thursday, March 19, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m., Movie Night at the History Center, 175 Pine Street, last in our "Third Thursday" series -- "Winter Classics: Frank Capra's Enduring Legacy," following the format of classic movie and discussion. This month showing the 1938 "You Can't Take It With You," with Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur. Hosts David Garnes and Peter Millett. Suggested donation $2 per person; $5 per family of 3 or more. Refreshments available for purchase.

  • Sunday, April 12 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Open House at the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road. Tradtional crafts for all as you 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 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.

  • 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.