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.

Click here for information on becoming a member!


  • Art classes at the History Center enter at 199 Forest Street. Following the artistic traditions of the Cheney family, classes for children and adults began 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. Our offices are located in the former Cheney Machine Shop, 175 Pine Street at the corner of Forest Street -- our musueum store sells 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.


  • The Historical Society requires pandemic social-distancing and face masks.

  • Saturdays during September, "Floyd Welch Remembers Pearl Harbor,” an 84-minute television show interviewing Navy veteran Floyd Welch, at the time, the last living Connecticut survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The Manchester Elks honored Floyd at a lunch on December 7, 2017. Floyd Welch passed away in August 2020 at the age of 99. In the recording, Floyd reminisces about the Pearl Harbor attack, and also about the battles he was in throughout World War II. 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. Some previous local-history shows can be borrowed at Mary Cheney Library. You can watch this month's show on the Public Access website "Floyd Welch" show.

  • Also of interest at any time during our current pandemic -- "1918, The Flu Hits Manchester,” a 62-minute television show filmed at the History Center on April 7, 2018. Historian and retired State Senator Mary Ann Handley spoke about the terrible flu that killed millions of people worldwide in 1918. Many of Manchester's doctors were in Europe with the troops as the U.S. had entered World War I the previous year. Manchester used Cheney Hall as a sort of hospital, setting up cots for flu patients, there being no hospital in Manchester at the time. At the presentation, newly appointed Town Troubadour Bill Ludwig sang two vintage songs about the flu. The show airs at 12:00 noon and at 8:00 p.m. on Cox cable channel 15 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. ou 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 "1918, The Flu Hits Manchester" show.

  • Our 2nd Tuesday genealogy meetings will tentatively return in January 2021 -- these are meetings for both amateur and more experienced genealogists, exploring topics in genealogy, helping each other with research and in overcoming roadblocks. Some meetings have guest speakers, and some have round-table discussions, sharing ideas, techniques, successes, and problems. We 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 coordinator, or read information about previous meetings and presentations.

  • Sunday, September 27 at 2:00 p.m., Annual meeting of the Historical Society, online via Webex, live from the History Center, 175 Pine Street. Details were sent to members. Agenda includes reports, plans for future, election of directors. If you are a member and didn't receive your mailing, phone 860-647-9983.

  • Sunday, September 27 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m., open house at the Woodbridge Farmstead, 495 East Middle Turnpike. Free. Kathy Gallo presents a talk about herbs from 12:00 to 1:30; space limited, reserve a spot by phoning 860-647-9983. Visit the restored eighteenth-century barn, the first floor rooms in the 1830s house, and the grounds of this historic 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, in the lot behind the barns, 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. Tour guides will 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 with various activities are planned for the second and fourth Sundays of the months May through October. For a poster with old and new photos, click Woodbridge open house.

  • Saturday, October 3 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Open house at the Old Manchester Museum, 126 Cedar Street. Drop by any time for a visit! The former Cheney School, built in 1859, houses a WWII 75th anniversary exhibit, as well as permanent exhibits, maps, school information. The Manchester Sports Hall of Fame is located in this building. Hosts Bob Kanehl and Art Pongratz can help answer local-history questions, and there's a museum shop to browse -- books and maps about local history, as well as gifts for yourself or others. The Cedar Street museum is generlly open the first Saturday of the month; closed from January through April to organize new exhibits. Free admission, donations welcome. More about the museum here.

  • OF INTEREST, but not sponsored by the Historical Society: Saturday, October 10, the 45th annual walking tour of the Cheney Historic District with commentary by Dr. Christopher Paulin of Manchester Community College, 1:00 p.m. Popular history walk starting at Fuss & O'Neill, 146 Hartford Road (plenty of parking in the lots west and south 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 Cheney District commission. We’ll see Cheney Hall, the former silk mills, the location of the former South Manchester Railroad, 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. The District walking tour began in 1976 under the leadership of Manchester Community College faculty members John Sutherland and the late Tom Lewis. Christopher Paulin has continued the tradition. To view a map of the District on this website, click Cheney Landmark District. Photo on right: the 2009 walking tour.

  • Sunday, October 11 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Open House at the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road. Tour this historic property, including grounds and gardens, and possibly inside at the Homestead Art Gallery where you will be inspired by Manchester's rich history in art. 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 11 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m., open house at the Woodbridge Farmstead, 495 East Middle Turnpike. Free. Visit the restored eighteenth-century barn, the first floor rooms in the 1830s house, and the grounds of this historic 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, in the lot behind the barns, 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. Tour guides will 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 with various activities are planned for the second and fourth Sundays of the months May through October. For a poster with old and new photos, click Woodbridge open house.

  • Saturday, November 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Open house at the Old Manchester Museum, 126 Cedar Street. Drop by any time for a visit! The former Cheney School, built in 1859, houses a WWII 75th anniversary exhibit, as well as permanent exhibits, maps, school information. The Manchester Sports Hall of Fame is located in this building. Hosts Bob Kanehl and Art Pongratz can help answer local-history questions, and there's a museum shop to browse -- books and maps about local history, as well as gifts for yourself or others. The Cedar Street museum is generlly open the first Saturday of the month; closed from January through April to organize new exhibits. Free admission, donations welcome. More about the museum here.

  • Saturday, December 5 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Open house at the Old Manchester Museum, 126 Cedar Street. Drop by any time for a visit! The former Cheney School, built in 1859, houses a WWII 75th anniversary exhibit, as well as permanent exhibits, maps, school information. The Manchester Sports Hall of Fame is located in this building. Hosts Bob Kanehl and Art Pongratz can help answer local-history questions, and there's a museum shop to browse -- books and maps about local history, as well as gifts for yourself or others. The Cedar Street museum is generlly open the first Saturday of the month; closed from January through April to organize new exhibits. Free admission, donations welcome. More about the museum here.

  • "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.