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. 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). Members are welcome to attend and may speak or ask questions at the beginning of the meeting. Dates: 4/17, 5/15, 6/19, 7/17, 8/21, 9/18. Questions may be directed to 860-647-9983.


  • Friday, NOTE DATE! March 29 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 this wonderful old movie favorite with our community, and celebrate our own Manchester actress!

  • Saturday, March 30 at 1:00 p.m., History Hike of Highland Park and climb starting at the small parking lot on Spring Street near the historic bridge and waterfall, not far from the intersection of Spring Street and Glen Road, Manchester (GPS 670 Spring St.). We'll start with commentary on the Case Brothers National Historic District and then visit the paper mill and mansion areas. Those who want a short history walk may end their walk at the dam at Case Pond near Spring Street. For those who want a more strenuous event, we will continue uphill to the summit of Lookout Mountain. Steep, bumpy, and rocky terrain, but worth the effort, especially on a clear day, when the Heublein Tower is visible to the west. FREE. Please wear sturdy sneakers or hiking boots, and bring water. No dogs, please. Extreme weather cancels. Please check the street signs carefully before parking to avoid parking tickets. Photo of hikers by Normand Charlette. For vintage pictures and a story about the Highland Park section of Manchester, visit Case Brothers National Historic District. Co-sponsored by the Manchester Land Conservation Trust, which owns property in this historic district, and the Connecticut Forest and Park Association, whose Shenipsit Trail winds its way through the forest.

  • Sunday, March 31 at 2:00 p.m., "Financial Overview of the Society," 175 Pine Street. Presented by the Board. All members welcome. Questions: 860-647-9983.

  • Saturdays during March, "From Manchester to War and Back, Veterans Day 2018,” a television show of a November 2018 program at the Manchester History Center, 175 Pine Street, with a panel of veterans talking about their war-time experiences. Each vet was asked to answer the question, "What did you bring with you from Manchester when you entered military service, and what did you bring back?" Participants included veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. The 71-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, April 6 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, April 7 at 1:00 p.m., Book Talk, 175 Pine Street. Author Christopher Wigren presents an illustrated talk about his book, “Connecticut Architecture: Stories of 100 Places.” Christopher Wigren is an architectural historian and Deputy Director of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. His articles and essays have appeared in the Hartford Courant, the New Haven Register, and Connecticut Explored magazine. The book is a project of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, and reflects 30+ years of fieldwork and research in statewide architectural surveys and National Register of Historic Places programs. The author says, “Connecticut boasts some of the oldest and most distinctive architecture in New England, from Colonial churches and Modernist houses to refurbished nineteenth-century factories. The state’s history includes landscapes of small farmsteads, country churches, urban streets, tobacco sheds, maritime villages, and town greens, as well as more recent suburbs and corporate headquarters.” The book introduces readers to 100 places across the state. Written for travelers and residents alike, the book features buildings visible from the road, and features 200 illustrations. The event is free, donations to the Historical Society welcome. Copies of the book will be available to purchase at $40.00 and the author will sign copies.

  • Thursday, April 11 at 3:00 p.m., Special meeting of school-tour volunteers, 175 Pine Street. For our May walking tours of the Historic District for our third-grade schoolchildren, volunteers are requested to come to this one-hour meeting and sign-up opportunity. We'll review this year's calendar (tours will be held from April 30 to May 23 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays) and new and old procedures. Diane Burns, from Manchester Public Schools, will tell us about the schools' preparations for this annual event, and volunteers will have a moment to introduce themselves and hear from other volunteers about their experiences. Remember, volunteers can sign up for one day or several days. We need both docents (guides who describe the location to the children) and helpers. No experience necessary. These tours support our mission of educating the public about the history of Manchester. RSVP by email to School Tour Committee with "School tour volunteer" in the subject line. Photo on left shows some of our 2018 volunteers.

  • Friday, May 3 at 5:30 p.m., Annual Dinner, at the Manchester Country Club, 305 South Main Street, Manchester, with socializing and cash bar at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6:00 p.m. Save the date! More info soon!

  • Saturday, April 13 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Historical Garden Club planning meeting as we form a group interested in growing historical fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Meet at the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road. Questions may be directed by email to Bettylou Sandy or phone her at 860-268-6270. If you enjoy gardening and using your skills to beautify the community, and working with others, please come! Photo of Bettylou Sandy at the Homestead's Harvest Festival, 2018. The garden there uses Early American growing techniques and heirloom seeds.

  • Sunday, April 14 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.

  • Saturday, May 4 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, May 12 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.

  • Tuesday, May 14 at 10:00 a.m., the Historical Society's Genealogy Group will meet at the History Center, 175 Pine Street, topic to be announced. 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. The Genealogy Group is a benefit of Historical Society membership; non-members are invited to join the Society (but also welcome to attend for $3.00 fee per meeting). 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.

  • Saturday, June 1 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.

  • Saturday, June 8, Connecticut Open House Day and Manchester museums open from 11 to 3: the History Center at 175 Pine, Cheney Homestead & Keeney Schoolhouse at 106 Hartford Road. Details soon on Old Manchester Museum at 126 Cedar Street, guided tours at the Woodbridge Farmstead on East Middle Turnpike at Manchester Green, and possibly Pitkin Glass Works at the corner of Parker and Putnam Streets. 2018 story about Connecticut Open House Day. Enjoy visiting the open museums and a stroll on your own in the Historic District.

  • Sunday, June 9 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.

  • Tuesday, June 11 at 10:00 a.m., the Historical Society's Genealogy Group will meet at the History Center, 175 Pine Street, topic to be announced. 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. 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.

  • Saturday, July 6 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, July 14 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 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.

  • "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.