Visit Colchester Historical Society
Colchester Historical Society Museum
The Colchester Historical Society Museum, formerly the Reverend Ballard home, features unique exhibits about people and institutions associated with the town of Colchester. The Museum is located at 24 Linwood Avenue in Colchester, Connecticut and shares a parking lot with Cragin Memorial Library. The museum does not charge admission, although donations are welcome. The museum is open from 1 – 4 PM every Saturday from April through December, except for holiday weekends. From January through March the museum is open the 2nd Saturday of the month from 1 – 4 PM. A tour of the museum may also be arranged by appointment by contacting Joann Riddell at 860-608-2911 or by leaving a message on the museum’s answering machine at 860-537-4230.
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In the year 2000 the Colchester Historical Society was bequeathed a 200 acre farm by the Zagray family with a request to preserve the land as open space and to use it for educational purposes. The farm is located at 544 Amston Road (Route 85), about a mile and a half from the Colchester Town Green. The farmhouse and grounds are open for tours by appointment, please call 860-537-4230 to request a tour. Parking is available at the farm.
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Old Bacon Academy was opened in 1803 and is located at 84 South Main Street in Colchester Connecticut. The academy was named after Pierpont Bacon who was a well to do local farmer and slave holder who died in 1800. In his will he left an endowment of $35,000 to the inhabitants of the First Society of Colchester for the purpose of supporting and maintaining a school. The academy became a celebrated secondary educational institution in New England. The original academy building housed the local high school until 1962 when a modern Bacon Academy High School was opened in another location of Colchester. The first floor of the old building is still used for educational purposes while the second and third floors are used to display artifacts owned by the Bacon Academy Board of Trustees, who own the building, and also those of the Colchester Historical Society. The building is only open for tours by appointment. To visit please contact the Bacon Academy trustees, P.O. Box 67, Colchester, CT 06415 or call the Colchester Historical Society at 860-537-4230.
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The Colchester Historical Society is proud to announce the successful completion of StEPS-CT, or Standards and Excellence Program for History Organizations (StEPs).
The Colchester Historical Society was one of 23 small cultural and heritage organizations which recently completed this intensive 2-year program. CHS received support and training via curriculum-based workshops; coaching from a dedicated mentor; and access to a Connecticut Humanities grant fund earmarked for initiatives related to achieving StEPs-CT program standards.
Over the course of the program, the Colchester Historical Society achieved bronze and silver certificates in six areas of museum practice. Through continued work on a self-study basis, CHS plans to continue to strive for gold certification in all StEPS Units. “This is just the beginning,” said CHS Co-President Gigi Liverant, “we are so grateful for StEPS-CT for all that we’ve learned, and we plan to continue developing procedures and policies that establish Colchester Historical Society as the premier steward of Colchester’s history and heritage.”
“Our experience with StEPS-CT has been invaluable,” Angela George, Co-President of CHS added. “From improved signage that has increased visitation to the museum, to implementing current policies that guide our volunteers through daily operations, StEPS-CT has improved our organization. We can now provide better programs to our community, and we are now better able to tell our audiences our local histories and preserve our heritage through our unique collections and images.”
StEPs-CT is a program of Connecticut Humanities and the Connecticut League of History Organizations, in partnership with Connecticut Historical Society, based on a curriculum of best practices developed by the American Association for State and Local History.
Connecticut’s program was the first to integrate the national StEPs curriculum and is viewed as a model for similar programs across the country, according to Scott Wands, manager of grants and programs at Connecticut Humanities.
Connecticut Humanities, a nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, provides opportunities to explore the history, literature and the vibrant culture that make our state, cities and towns attractive places to live and work. Learn more by visiting www.cthumanities.org.
The Connecticut League of History Organizations (CLHO) builds connections among those who preserve and share the stories and objects of our past. Learn more by visiting www.clho.org.