Investing in Our History,
Enhancing Our Future
Redefining the Historical Society of Cheshire County
The Historical Society of Cheshire County collects, preserves, and communicates the history of the region at our home on Keene’s Main Street and at the Wyman Tavern Museum only a block away. We fully recognize, as have other successful historical societies across America, that people won’t return again and again to museums that are simply repositories of “old stuff”. Today people support organizations that are vital, alive, happening, and provide continuing benefits that suit members’ and consumers’ present needs.
The Trustees at the Historical Society faced this challenge head on when they developed the Society’s five-year strategic plan in 2012. The result was a redefinition of the Historical Society as a “cultural heritage center” where history comes alive. The vision is focused on providing relevance and sense of place. The place has certainly been shaped by its history, but should be more broadly understood by wider audiences in terms of its art, its music, its literature, its crafts, its industries, and its social fabric.
To this end the Society has launched a capital campaign to develop a cultural heritage center campus. The campaign goal is $2.4 million and it includes repairs and improvements to our buildings as well as the acquisition of a building adjacent to the Wyman Tavern for use as a welcome center and education center.
The Historical Society of Cheshire County will be a Cultural Heritage Center that serves as a steward for the region’s history, provides relevance to people of all ages, and enhances our sense of place.
This initiative, the organization’s first capital fund drive in twenty years, is truly a great leap forward to transition the entire Society into the Cheshire County Cultural Heritage Center – a change from two buildings to three buildings that expands the Society’s mission and vision in keeping with changing times.
We Provide Educational Programs for Kids from 5 to 95
The Historical Society provides over 140 programs per year to show that Cheshire County is a place that honors its future and its past. School tours, summer camps, teacher workshops, exhibits, festivals, living history, historic crafts and foodways, music, gardening, archaeology field schools, pop-up museums, internships, lectures, field trips, reenactments, hands-on activities, and more show we are a lasting community that cares about its cultural heritage.
We Add Value to the Community
The Historical Society draws some 12,500 people to Keene and the surrounding region each year. These visitors pay for meals, lodging, gifts and additional cultural attractions, thereby supporting other businesses in the area. Moreover, the Historical Society’s annual budget for staff and local services largely goes right back into the local economy. Conservatively, the Society has an annual economic impact of $1.5 million on our community.
If we want to leave something valuable for those who come after us, let it be our rich Cheshire County history. Why?
Because we are very much a part of it. And trust us, it’s nice to be remembered!
- The Wyman Tavern is the Historical Society’s most important artifact and one of Cheshire County’s most historic buildings.
- The building is threatened by moisture damage, deterioration, and other structural issues.
- The rehabilitation plan includes site work, masonry and structural repairs, carpentry, rehabilitation of windows and doors, repairs to roofing, flashing, and gutters, and mechanical, plumbing, and electrical work.
- The Historical Society will acquire the Bruder House from Keene State College to be used as a welcome center for the Wyman Tavern cultural heritage center campus.
The welcome center will provide handicap accessibility, space for educational programs, cooking facilities, rest rooms, additional parking, and a museum shop.
The second floor of the building will offer additional storage space for archives and collections.
The welcome center will offer the opportunity to greatly expand programs at the Wyman Tavern without compromising its architectural or historical integrity.
- The Ball Mansion is the home of the Historical Society of Cheshire County.
In order to be good stewards of the building we must repair the roof, masonry, windows, interiors, heating, and electrical.
In order for the building to provide better experiences for visitors, certain improvements will be made such as redesigning the gift shop and exhibit areas for better flow.
BALL MANSION renovations: $641,000
BALL MANSION improvements: $140,000
TOTAL BALL MANSION: $781,000
WYMAN TAVERN renovations: $324,000
TOTAL WYMAN TAVERN: $324,000
BALL & WYMAN TAVERN TOTAL: $1,105,000
WYMAN TAVERN WELCOME CENTER:
Purchase Price $300,000
WELCOME CENTER TOTAL: $815,000
ANNUAL BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS MAINTENANCE:
($20,000 per year at 4% yield) TOTAL: $500,000
FACILITIES GRAND TOTAL: $2,420,000
Your donations are hard at work click here to see an updated list of the work that has been completed. capital campaign update
To make a pledge or a donation Pledge Form 2016 CapCam.