Alan F Rumrill
Marketing Coordinator & Museum Store Manager
Mary E. Jensen, PhD
Project Manager, Jonathan Daniels Center
December 1, 2020
The Historical Society of Cheshire County collects memories. We have about 300,000 memories in our collections in the form of books, manuscripts, photos, artifacts, and even buildings such as the Wyman Tavern, the Ball Mansion, and the Bruder House. They are portals into knowledge, feelings, and actions.
In 2020, at a time when the only thing we could be certain of was uncertainty, our staff of six people has done whatever it took to collect, preserve, and communicate local history that could be relevant and useful to the public. When we could not come to the office, we worked remotely from home. When we could not provide programs in person, we offered them virtually as webinars or videos. When we could not visit students in classrooms or in our buildings, we added educational content to our website.
Here are a few examples of how we have helped people find their place in history through virtual or socially-distanced programs:
- Alan Rumrill’s series of “Viral Stories: Tales for a Pandemic,” which have connected the pandemic to various aspects of local history
- The Magical History Tour walking tours of the murals in downtown Keene, and the Badass Women of Keene walking tours
- Partnership with NHPBS and the League of Women Voters to provide a local lens on the topic of Empowered Women of Cheshire County
- News from the Past – a virtual documentary featuring five former writers from the Keene Sentinel
- The Wyman Tavern Brew Tour – a safe alternative to our annual Wyman Tavern Brew Fest in August in partnership with local brewers
In 2020, we also established a home for the Jonathan Daniels Center for Social Responsibility to remember and honor Keene’s native son who sacrificed his life as a martyr for the civil rights movement.
The Jonathan Daniels Center was founded by a dedicated group of Cheshire County residents to commemorate the life of Jonathan Daniels of Keene. Jonathan Daniels was an Episcopal seminarian and civil rights activist who answered the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call for clergy to come south to assist him in his work in Selma, Alabama. On August 20, 1965, Daniels was shot by a deputy sheriff in Hayneville, Alabama while attempting to enter a store with a Catholic priest and two young African American women.
The Jonathan Daniels Center is now located at the Historical Society of Cheshire County in Keene. In 2020 the Center hired Mary E. Jensen PhD as its project manager. Mary Jensen has had a busy year of developing the Center’s space into an interactive, reflective, and forward-looking destination. She is collaborating with local organizations on activities, educational opportunities, and projects that will embody the legacy of Jonathan Daniels.
On Giving Tuesday, you can help the Historical Society make it to the post-pandemic future. We can get there from here with your support. It is our hope you will make a donation in one of two ways:
General operating support so our staff can continue to tell our local history stories.
Support for our newest project – the Jonathan Daniels Center for Social Responsibility.
For Giving Tuesday 2020, make a gift for general operating support so the Historical Society of Cheshire County can continue to tell our local history stories. The biggest need at the Historical Society today is to retain staff positions and meet operating expenses.