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 the first Saturday of the month, May through December, 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 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. Please check to make sure the building is open before coming! 860-647-9983.

  • Saturdays during November, "Murder in Manchester, the Great Silk Heist” an original one-act play, telling the story of the murder of Bill Madden, Cheney security chief in January 1919 during an attempted silk robbery. This 57-minute television show was recorded live on Sunday, September 23 at the History Center. Local actors played Police Chief Sam Gordon, who investigated the murder; Maurice Madden, brother of the murder victim, and other Manchester residents of nearly 100 years ago. Walt Scadden, author and playwright, thanks the sponsors and donors who made the play possible. A playbill with lists of actors, donors, sponsors, and a bit about the play is available on this website at playbill. The name of the talented bagpiper, Benjamin Elzerman, did not make it into the program due to printing deadlines. The 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.

  • Sunday, November 11 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Open House and at 2:00 p.m. “The Life & Art of John Cheney, 1801-1882”. At the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road. The 2:00 p.m. talk will focus on the life of John Cheney, followed by a demonstration and explanation of the art of engraving by an art professor from Manchester Community College. Tour the 1785 homestead and visit the new Homestead Art Gallery to see beautiful works of art by John and Seth Cheney. The 1785 house was donated to the Manchester Historical Society by the Cheney family in 1968 for use as a house museum. 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, November 11 at 1:00 p.m., "Manchester Veterans" program -- at the Manchester History Center, 175 Pine Street -- An opportunity to hear some interesting stories from veterans of Vietnam, Korea, and World War II, as several long-time residents discuss how Manchester influenced their military service, and how their military service affected their subsequent life in Manchester. Veterans are invited to bring a Manchester-connected story to share at the end of the program. $3 for members; $5 for non-members; FREE for veterans and for children under 16. 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. Pictured are Marine veterans Walt Scadden and Bill Johnson, who will participate in the program.

  • Tuesday, November 13 at 10:00 a.m., the Historical Society's Genealogy Group -- "Mining the Treasures in Newspapers" -- the public is invited to learn more about doing research through newspapers now available on the Internet. 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 ($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, December 1 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE at the Old Manchester Museum, 126 Cedar Street; Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road, decorated by the Manchester Garden Club; and the History Center, 175 Pine Street, with special exhibits: • celebrating the 180th anniversary of the founding of the Cheney silk mills and • Manchester Road Race history and lore. Museum stores at the Cedar Street museum and the Pine Street History center will be open with books and maps, mugs, magnets, t-shirts. The Old Manchester Museum has displays of maps, school photos, Spencer repeating rifles, Pitkin Glass, Case water-bottling company, and also houses the Manchester Sports Hall of Fame. The History Center, constructed beginning in 1895, spans 40,000 sq. ft. and has been the home of the Historical Society since 1999. The History Center will be open the first Saturday of the month. More about the History Center here.

  • "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.