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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  • The Old Manchester Museum at 126 Cedar Street, open the first Saturday of the month, from noon to 2:00 p.m. depending on the weather and 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.

  • Tuesday, January 8 at 10:00 a.m., the Historical Society's Genealogy Group welcomes Jennifer Zinck, a professional genealogist who specializes in incorporating DNA evidence into genealogy. Jennifer is an instructor in the Boston University Genealogical Research Certificate Program. Learn about the different types of DNA tests and how they can help you connect branches of your family tree. The public is invited! Our genealogy meetings are for both amateur and more experienced genealogists, as we explore topics in genealogy, helping each other with research and in overcoming roadblocks. Meet at the Manchester History Center, 175 Pine Street. The Genealogy Group consists of Historical Society members, but non-members are also welcome ($5.00 fee for non-members for this particular event; usually $3). 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, January 20 at 1:00 p.m., Book Talk, 175 Pine Street. Author Martin Podskoch presents an illustrated talk about his book, “Connecticut 169 Club, Your Passport and Guide to Exploring Connecticut.” The book encourages readers to visit all of Connecticut’s 169 towns and notes that people visit one or two places in a state or stay in their town or city, so they “miss the beauty and the interesting stories of other places right in their state. From the quaint splendor of the town of Kent in the northwest hills to the great restaurants that dot the shoreline of Westbrook to New Britain’s industrial roots, I hope to give Connecticut residents a chance to explore every municipality in the State.” The book includes a space for readers’ notes and a place to document their visit to each town, getting a stamp, sticker, or signature from a business or other town location indicating they visited a particular town. “The idea is to make sure people visit and talk to people and not just drive through,” he said. The reward for visiting all 169 towns, cities and villages will be a “Leatherman” patch, commemorating the Leatherman, a legendary vagabond, who during the late 1800s wore leather clothes and travelled a 365-mile circuit in approximately 34 days between the Hudson and Connecticut Rivers while camping out in caves. Marty, a retired reading teacher from Delhi, NY, lives in East Hampton. He suggests that the whole family, including grandparents, enjoy the adventure of exploring all 169 Connecticut municipalities together. “Let’s all take the road less traveled,” he says. The 368-page hard-cover book will be available for sale at the event for $24.95. The event is free, donations to the Historical Society welcome. Snow date is February 24.

  • Friday, January 25 at 7:00 p.m., Manchester in the Movies, 175 Pine Street. Come and enjoy vintage movies with a Manchester connection! A winter movie series the last Friday night of January, February and March, featuring actress Astrid Allwyn (1905-1978), born in South Manchester, who had supporting roles in over a dozen movies in the 1930s and 1940s. We will show three successive movies from the 1930s, first starring Jimmy Stewart (Mr. Smith goes to Washington), then Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers (Follow the Fleet), and lastly Shirley Temple (Dimples). Hosted by Society director Peter Millet; historic commentary by author David Garnes. Donation requested: $2 per person, $5 per family. Refreshments available for purchase. Come enjoy some wonderful old movie favorites with our community, and celebrate our own Manchester actress!

  • Saturdays during January, "Homestead Harvest 2018,” a television show of an October 14, 2018 visit to the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road, a gift to the Manchester Historical Society by the Cheney family in 1968. Homestead chairperson Peter Millet arranged for a horse-shoeing demonstration, colonial-style cooking, and other activities for adults and children throughout the afternoon. The show also visits the art gallery, featuring works by John, Seth, and Russell Cheney. The Homestead is usually open the second Sunday of the month from 1:00 to 4:00, except for holidays and not during January 2019. The 52-minute TV 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. The television show is produced by Susan Barlow, directed by Kathryn Wilson, research by Jill Gelinas, volunteers of the Manchester Historical Society. You can watch this month's show on the Public Access website Current TV Program on Manchester Public Access website.

  • Saturday, February 2 from 12:00 noon 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, February 3 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. Severe weather postpones to February 17 at 1:00. Financial statements are included in the December 2018 Courier.

  • Sunday, February 10 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.

  • Friday, February 22 at 7:00 p.m., Manchester in the Movies, 175 Pine Street. Come and enjoy vintage movies with a Manchester connection! Our winter movie series continues in this second of three events, featuring actress Astrid Allwyn (1905-1978), born in South Manchester, who had supporting roles in over a dozen movies in the 1930s and 1940s. The February 22 movie will (as was the first in our wintertime series) be from the 1930s, a great movie night featuring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Follow the Fleet. Hosted by Society director Peter Millet; historic commentary by author David Garnes. Donation requested: $2 per person, $5 per family.Refreshments available for purchase. Come enjoy some wonderful old movie favorites with our community, and celebrate our own Manchester actress!

  • Saturday, March 2 from 12:00 noon 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, March 10 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.

    Friday, March 22 at 7:00 p.m., Manchester in the Movies, 175 Pine Street. Last of our series of three vintage movie nights with a Manchester connection! These movies have featured actress Astrid Allwyn (1905-1978), born in South Manchester, who had supporting roles in over a dozen movies in the 1930s and 1940s. The March 22 movie will (as were the first two in our wintertime series) be from the 1930s, a great movie night featuring Shirley Temple -- the movie Dimples. Hosted by Society director Peter Millet; historic commentary by author David Garnes. Donation requested: $2 per person, $5 per family. Refreshments available for purchase. Come enjoy some wonderful old movie favorites with our community, and celebrate our own Manchester actress!

  • "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.