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The Historical Society of Cheshire County offers a wide variety of activities for all ages throughout the year. At our home, the former Ball Residence at 246 Main Street, are housed the Society's museum exhibits, library, and archives, as well as our educational center, offices, and museum store. Museum exhibits include research level collections of glass, pottery, and other locally produced items, along with a regular schedule of temporary feature exhibits.
Each year more then a thousand people use the Wright Room research library to conduct genealogy and local history research from more than 300,000 items in the collection. To educate and assist patrons with their research, the Society sponsors a Genealogy Group and provides research service for a fee.
About a block and a half from our Main Street facilities, the Society operates The Wyman Tavern Museum. Built by Captain Isaac Wyman in 1762, it was initially used as a tavern for 40 years. The Reverend Zadekiah Barstow, the last settled minister by the town, made the tavern his home for the next 55 years. The Wyman Tavern is now maintained as a period house museum representing the period from 1770 to 1860.
Striving to educate the community on local history, the Society offers a wide range of educational resources for all ages. Teachers (although fun for any age student) have access to a wide range of materials, including history packets, photo history packets, lesson plans, and wonder boxes. School groups can tour the Wyman Tavern and our main museum facilities, and can use our Transportation Fund money to cover the cost of the school bus. HSCC also offers teachers development workshops during the spring and fall. Each semester our internship program offers students an opportunity to gain experience in such areas as history, museum and archival science, and architecture.
To the larger community, the Society offers numerous workshops, seminars, special lectures, tours, and slide presentations on various aspects of Cheshire County history, along with classes taught at Keene State College and with Elderhostel groups. Each year the Society hosts four membership meetings, which include a special presentation on some aspect of county or regional history. Our annual field trips to museums and galleries provide another avenue for exploring the region's vast history. HSCC also provides "Then & Now" photos for the Keene Sentinel, "Mystery Photos" for the Keene Shopper, and a weekly radio program called "Monadnock Moments" on WKNE. Although they are fundraising events for us, participating in Appraisal Days, auction, book sale, and receptions at the Wyman Tavern are additional ways to learn more about the county's history.
Another form of outreach the Society provides is through its advisory services. HSCC offers preservation, technical, and archival assistance to individuals and organizations to help raise historical consciousness and the value of historical items. To promote these values HSCC is part of a Roundtable Forum with historical societies from the Monadnock region. The Roundtable pools our collective knowledge to better support the promotion of local histories.
To help keep our members and the community informed, the Society publishes a newsletter five times a year. We also publish more substantial local histories at least every other year. Some past publications include The Journal of Abner Sanger, Central Square and Beyond, Historical Images of Keene and Cheshire County by Bion H. Whitehouse, Shire Town on Foot, and J. A. French's Cheshire County. These and other publications and items are available at our Museum Store.