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, temporarily closed to the public, but the staff will answer phones 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 -- when our musueum store reopens, 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.


  • PLEASE NOTE that the Historical Society is suspending all public events until the end of April. However, staff will be available by phone and email, or by appointment only. Our main phone: 860-647-9983; staff is at the History Center Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 to 2:00. Or leave a messagte.

  • Meanwhile, this recorded lecture, "The Terrible Flu in Manchester, 1918" -- may be of interest! It was filmed at the History Center in April 2018, on the hundredth anniversary of the influenza epidemic of 1918. Former State Senator Mary Ann Handley presented this informative talk. A retired Manchester Community College history professor, Mary Ann has conducted research on this topic, and at the lecture established a foundation for understanding the medical and statistical aspects of the flu, as well as typical death-rates versus flu death-rates of this time in American and local history. She included information about Manchester's response to the flu. Town troubadour, Bill Ludwig, sang vintage music. Photo at left: old drawing of Cheney Hall, which served as a hospital in 1918, with cots for those stricken with the flu. You can watch the show on the Public Access website "1918 Influenza" TV Show on Public Access TV.

  • POSTPONED due to coronavirus precautions: 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.

  • POSTPONED! Saturday, March 28 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m., Woodbridge Farmstead cleanup day to get ready for opening day in May. Bring gloves and gardening tools, please! 495 East Middle Turnpike. "We appreciate your help with spring cleanup," says Peggy Newton, Farmstead Chair. 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.

  • Saturdays during March "Four Chaplains Day at the American Legion” on Legion Drive in Manchester, a 30-minute television show recorded on February 3, 2020. The ceremony was conducted by members of the American Legion as well as musicians from East Catholic High School and the University of Connecticut. The true story of the death at sea and the sacrifice of the four chaplains was told and each chaplain's biography was read. 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 "Four Chaplains" TV Show on Public Access TV. You can watch some of our previous shows by selecting "Manchester Program Schedule" (the second tab) on the local Public Access website and on the next screen, type Historical into the search box.

  • POSTPONED Sunday, April 5 NOTE DATE (2nd Sunday, our usual open house day, is Easter!) from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Open House at the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road. Traditional crafts for all as you visit this early American home, including the Homestead Art Gallery, where you can 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.

  • Temporarily suspending the 2nd Tuesday genealogy meetings, including April 14 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 hold a round-table discussion, sharing ideas, techniques, successes, and problems. 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.

  • POSTPONED due to coronavirust Friday, April 17, Annual Dinner 5:30 p.m. at the Manchester Country Club, 305 South Main St. We hope to reschedule in the fall. If you have already paid for tickets, your money will be refunded.

  • Sunday, May 3 NOTE DATE (rescheduling to 1st Sunday, because 2nd Sunday, our usual open house day, is Mother's Day!) from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Open House at the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road. Traditional crafts for all as you visit this early American home, including the 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, May 10 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m., special Mother's Day open house at the Woodbridge Farmstead, 495 East Middle Turnpike. Free. "Fun, food, and flowers for moms, but all are welcome to come," says Peggy Newton, Farmstead Chair. 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.

  • Temporarily suspending the 2nd Tuesday genealogy meetings, including Tuesday, May 12 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 hold a round-table discussion, sharing ideas, techniques, successes, and problems. 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.

  • CANCELLED FOR THIS MAY: Manchester school children tour the historic district, including the Cheney Homestead, Keeney Schoolhouse, Old Manchester Museum, History Center, and Cheney Hall. You may see the students and their teachers and chaperones walking from building to building, learning about the history of the silk mills, and what life was like in the past. Thanks to the many volunteers who make these tours possible. A few of the volunteers and members of the organizing committee are pictured on the left. All of Manchester's public school third-grade students, plus Odyssey, St. James, and St. Bridget schoolchildren participate. The tours are scheduled from 9:30 to 1:30 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, through May 21. These tours support our mission of educating the public about the history of Manchester.

  • Sunday, May 24 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m., second annual children's duck race and 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, June 13, Connecticut Open House Day and Manchester museums open free from 11 to 3: • the History Center at 175 Pine Street, the former Cheney machine shop now on the National Register of Historic Places • Cheney Homestead & Keeney Schoolhouse at 106 Hartford Road with kitchen and herb gardens • Old Manchester Museum at 126 Cedar Street • the barn and grounds at the Woodbridge Farmstead, 495 East Middle Turnpike at Manchester Green, with kids' activities. • Pitkin Glass Works at the corner of Parker and Putnam Streets. Enjoy visiting the open museums and a stroll on your own in the Historic District. The fire museum, corner of Pine St. and Hartford Road is open. There is a museum store at the History Center with books on local history, high school yearbooks, copies of vintage maps, tee-shirts, mugs, notecards, etc. Open house events take place throughout the State of Connecticut, coordinated by the Connecticut Office of Tourism, which says, "cultural organizations and tourism attractions throughout the state open their doors to Connecticut residents and invite them to discover — and rediscover — Connecticut’s fascinating world of art, history, film and tourism.".

  • Please note, no second-Sunday-of-June Woodbridge open house -- we'll be open Saturday, June 13 (see above) Usually the Woodbridge Farmstead, 495 East Middle Turnpike, is open the second and fourth Sundays of the month, May to October, weather permitting. For a poster with old and new photos, click Woodbridge open house.

  • Sunday, June 21 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.

  • Sunday, July 12 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Open House at the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road. Traditional crafts for all as you visit this early American home, including the Homestead Art Gallery where you will 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, July 12 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.

  • Sunday, July 26 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.

  • Sunday, August 9 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Open House at the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road. Traditional crafts for all as you visit this early American home, including the Homestead Art Gallery where you will 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.

  • 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, the Cheney District commission, and the Manchester Historical Society. We’ll see Cheney Hall, the former silk mills, the location of the former South Manchester Railroad, the Loom exhibit at 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, but donations to the Manchester Historical Society are welcome. 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, 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.