Our Museums

Built in 1720 and occupied by the Benton family for 212 years, this is the earliest house museum in Tolland County.

The oldest cellblock dates from 1856, jailer's home from 1893. Thousand of items used in Tolland homes, farms and businesses.

Beautiful 1822 courthouse in a transitional Colonial to Federal style with original Palladian window. Courtroom restored to 19th Century appearance. Exhibits.

A Difficult, but Appropriate Decision to Cancel the 2020 Tolland Antiques Show

     Our thoughtful and deliberate Antiques Show director, Mary-Pat Soucy, in consultation with the Tolland Historical Society board, has made the appropriate decision to cancel the 2020 show.
     In a letter to past dealers, she wrote that “with declining markets and unpredictable income, the prudent decision for this year is to focus all of our efforts on our Court House.”     
     She was referring to the large capital project the society is undertaking to restore its 1822 Court House Museum cupola and bell tower. Soucy, who also handles major fundraising events for the society, is planning fundraising opportunities to raise about $150,000 for the project in 2020.
     This was a difficult decision after running a successful show for 53 years, but we have to focus on preserving our beautiful museum on the Tolland Green.
     Kathy Bach
     Tolland Historical Society

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Tolland Historical Society holds slogan contest for Tolland residents

     In 2020, the Tolland Historical Society is undertaking a major fundraising drive to restore the bell tower on the 1822 Old Tolland County Court House Museum, and it’s asking for help from Tolland residents of all ages.
     The society must raise $150,000 to restore the interior structure that cradles the bell as well as restoring and replacing some interior and exterior parts of the bell tower itself on the stately building that graces the historic Tolland Green. At the end of the project, the society will be able to once again ring the bell.
     To build excitement for the project, the society is asking Tolland residents to suggest a catchy slogan for the fundraising campaign. The winner will receive a $50 gift card and a book of Tolland history written by a local author, and the runner-up will receive a $25 gift card.
     Entries should be emailed to society@tollandhistorical.org or mailed to Tolland Historical Society, P.O. Box 107, Tolland, CT 06084 no later than Feb. 21. Please include suggested slogan, name and email address or phone number.
     The existing courthouse replaced an earlier building built in 1785 to satisfy the state’s requirement that the town provide a courthouse and a jail in order to be designated as the Tolland County seat.
 All court sessions in Tolland County were held in the building until about 1890.
     From 1899 to 1985, the town’s public library operated in the building.
 The Tolland Public Library Association gave the courthouse to the society in 2001, when it became the society’s third museum.
     The first floor is home to the French Canadian Genealogical Society of Connecticut, and the top floor includes a beautiful courtroom that has been restored to look as it did in the 19th century.

Photo of the Old Tolland County Court House Museum by Tom Calabrese

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While appointments last: sign up for our Nov. 16 silhouette fundraiser!

    Our successful silhouette portrait fundraiser, featuring beautiful hand-cut silhouettes from artist Marcella Comerford, returns Saturday, Nov. 16 at the Old Tolland County Court House Museum at 53 Tolland Green.
     These lovely portraits make unique holiday gifts and treasured mementos.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Tolland Historical Society. All work is done free-hand, and even wiggly children are welcome. 
     Sessions are by appointment only. To make an appointment, go to Tolland Historical Society Sign-up at  https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0549aaa723a7f49-silhouette66 and select a time. 
     A single silhouette costs $37, with a duplicate costing $15. A 5×7 frame for one silhouette is $35, and an 8×10 frame for two to three silhouettes is $45. Each silhouette is mounted on an acid-free museum board. 
     Baby bump and pet silhouettes created from photos are also available by special order. For more information on that option, email portraitsinsilhouette@gmail.com, and don’t forget to mention the Tolland Historical Society.
     For more information on the event, email Ni-Ni Reinard at nkjtr@sbcglobal.net.

Silhouette 2019 FLYER


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Major Quilt Show Set for Sept. 28 and 29

     The Tolland Historical Society will hold a show featuring 30 handmade quilts, both modern and antique, at the Old Tolland County Court House Museum at 53 Tolland Green on Saturday, Sept. 28 and Sunday, Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
     The oldest quilt in the show dates to the mid 19th-century. Admission is $5 each day.
     The show will take place in the beautifully restored upstairs courtroom in the 1822 courthouse. Please note that there is no elevator to access the second floor.
     Quilts will be on display and not for sale. The show, which benefits the Tolland Historical Society, will feature Tolland history books and society merchandise for sale.
      Please note: this will be the last weekend of the season that the court house museum will be open for the season. Tours after Sept. 29 will be available by appointment only, and appointments can be made by calling Historical Society President Kathy Bach at 860-872-7716 or by emailing her at kwbach@gmail.com.

One of the Tolland Historical Society quilts that will be on display at the 2019 quilt show

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Big Y Donates $1,500 to the Tolland Historical Society

     The Tolland Historical Society is grateful to Big Y Foods, Inc. for its donation of $1,500 to the society from the proceeds of its Paul & Gerald D’Amour Memorial Charity Golf Outing.
     Members of the society board visited the store Sept. 6 to thank Store Director Tom Socha and Employees Services Representative Chelsea Kelleher for the generous donation.
     President Kathy Bach said the funds will be dedicated to repairs needed on the cupola of the Old Tolland County Court House Museum.
     Pictured are, left to right, board member Dave Geissler, Bach, Socha, Kelleher, board member Dr. Sharron Laplante and Vice President Celeste Senechal. Missing from photo is Treasurer Katie Fratoni.

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History Explorers Program in July was a Success!

In its second year, the Tolland Historical Society’s History Explorers program, held during a hot week in July, was a success as eight local girls learned about leisure activities of the 1800s at the Old Tolland County Jail and Museum.

Led by Museum Director Kathy Bach, with help from Talie Lyon and Emma and Julia Condos, the explorers had a great adventure.

Here’s a write-up from Kathy:
“In several craft activities, the explorers incorporated modern conveniences into the skills of days of old. Sewing a fine seam of 8 stitches per inch was fine in 1865, but we wanted to finish our lingerie bags to travel during the week, so the explorers learned the art of the 20th-century sewing machine. And an electric iron was much more handy than building a fire in the wood stove during the hottest week of the summer!
Their nature art from the flowers in the museum garden on photo paper exposed to the sun, scratch art, painted pencil cases and decorated personal journals all used ideas and patterns we gathered from quilts, china and cut glass found in the museum…and some from our imaginations. Making kaleidoscopes was a challenge, but what a fun result.
There was still time to learn a little history, etiquette, tour the museum, do an attic crawl, and of course, have our famous end-of-the-week tea party. I think the highlight was our trip to the Tolland Inn, where we saw a real pantry, and were the first students to meet the new town manager, Michael Rosen. Susan and Steve Beeching, the inn’s owners, are so much fun and showed us all around their beautiful bed and breakfast. 
And did anyone mention Bob? The explorers even named the famed museum jail occupant (our dummy), who resides in cell #22.”

The Explorers who took part were Abbie Poulin, Mia Santini, Avery Marcroft, Kaylee Hansen Edgar, Grace Condos, Ava Sapere, Sophia Ash and Julia Pizzi.

Group photos in the jail and at the Tolland Inn by Kathy Bach. Other photos by Perne Maynard of the Tolland Historical Society.

2019 History Explorers

Jail Museum Director Kathy Bach leading an activity

It was hot in the cellblock!

Explorer Kaylee Hansen Edgar made a slap bracelet for Bob, the occupant of cell #22.

The History Explorers at the lovely Tolland Inn

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Historical Society Intern Orientation Session Set for June 8

     For the past decade, the Tolland Historical Society has been training 7th through 12th graders on all aspects of how museums run.
     Through this successful internship program, students learn how to research and set up exhibits, accession artifacts donated to the society and give museum tours.
     It’s time to sign up new interns for this summer. An orientation session for interested 7ththrough 12thgraders will be held on Saturday, June 8 at 11 a.m. in the shed area of the Old Tolland County Jail and Museum at 52 Tolland Green in Tolland.
     The session lasts about an hour and includes a museum tour. For those unable to attend on June 8, please come to museum hours on Sunday, June 9 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. or contact Museum Director Kathy Bach at kwbach@gmail.com.


Intern Jaden Delgobbo, at right, gives visitors to the Old Tolland County Jail and Museum a tour.


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Big Y Foods, Inc. Makes Generous Donation to Historical Society

The Tolland Historical Society is pleased to announce that Big Y Foods, Inc. has donated $1,500 to us from the proceeds of its Paul & Gerald D’Amour Memorial Charity Golf Outing.
Thank you very much, Big Y, for your generosity!


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Thank you for another great antiques show!

Despite the sloppy weather on Sunday, March 10, antiques lovers from across New England turned out to make the 53rd Annual Tolland Antiques show a success.

The many customers joined our dealers who traveled from New York, Pennsylvania and Maine for this high-quality show.

Thank you to Show Director Mary-Pat Soucy, Deputy Director Dr. Sharron Laplante and our many volunteers who made the event flow seamlessly.




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Join us for the 53rd annual Tolland Antiques Show on March 10!

     Calling all antiques lovers: be sure to join us Sunday, March 10 for the Tolland Historical Society’s largest annual fundraiser – the 53rd annual Tolland Antiques Show!
     The show will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Tolland Middle School at 1 Falcon Way. Admission is $10. Parking is free, and delicious lunch choices will be available from Willington Pizza at modest prices.
     With more than 40 dealers from throughout New England, New York and Pennsylvania, the show is one of the premier events in the Northeast dealing in early Americana. The show will feature 18th- and 19th-century American furniture, accessories, textiles, rugs, prints, folk art, paintings, redware and early iron. Many items are of museum quality.
     The show is a benefit for the Tolland Historical Society, with proceeds supporting the Old Tolland County Courthouse, the Old Tolland County Jail and Museum and the Daniel Benton Homestead. Proceeds also support the many programs that the society sponsors in the community and its curriculum-related programs in the Tolland school system.
Here’s a tentative list of our dealers:
KAREN ALEXANDER ANTIQUES, John Doig, Somers, Conn.; BARBARA ARDIZONE, Salisbury, Conn.; BAYBERRY ANTIQUES, Laura McCarthy, Rockland, Mass.; BLUE DOG ANTIQUES, Judi Stellmach, Stafford Springs, Conn.; HOLLIS BRODRICK, Portsmouth, New Hampshire; CHESTER CWILICHOSKI, New Haven, Conn.; COLETTE DONOVAN, Merrimacport, Mass.; MARTIN J. FERRICK ANTIQUES, Lincolnville, Maine; RAY FOSTER ANTIQUES and FINE ARTS
Machias, Maine; SUSAN GLADDING, Wallkill, New York; GOOSEFARE ANTIQUES and PROMOTIONS, John DeSimone, Saco, Maine; RICHARD LAWRENCE GREENE, Providence, Rhode Island; IVY HILL PRIMITIVES,
Lynne Oppenheimer, Langhorne, Penn.; BILL KELLY, Limington, Maine; RICHARD KENNEY, Dover, New Hampshire; MATT KING, 
Marshfield, Mass.; WS KORZICK ANTIQUES, Elma & WS Korzick, New Haven, Conn.; THOMAS R. LONGACRE, Thomas & Beverly Longacre, Marlborough, New Hampshire; GREG LOVELL ANTIQUES, Hyde Park, Mass.; JOSEPH MARTIN
Brownington, Vermont, DAVID MENZIES, Woodbridge, Conn.; CHARLES MUENCHINGER, Windham, Conn.; NEW ENGLAND HOME ANTIQUES, Bruce Henley, Wethersfield, Conn.; OLD BEAUTIFUL ANTIQUES & ART, David Perrelli, Clinton, Conn.; DANIEL & KAREN OLSON, Newburgh, New York; RANDI ONA EARLY AMERICAN ANTIQUES, Wayne, New Jersey; PALISADES TRADING CO.
Tom Landers, Windsor, Conn.; PANTRY BOX ANTIQUES, Charles M. Guinipero, Stafford Springs, Conn.; PATINA ART & ANTIQUES, Glenn Allard, Roxbury, Conn.; SHARON PLATT AMERICAN ANTIQUES, Portsmouth, New Hampshire; DERIK D. PULITO, Kensington, Conn.; QUIET CORNER ANTIQUES, Michael Rouillard, Sterling, Conn.; DENNIS RALEIGH ANTIQUES, Wiscasset, Maine; MARILYN & RON SALAND ANTIQUES, Scarsdale, New York; SASHA’S ANTIQUES, Kathy & Paul Steinberg, Orange, Conn.; PHYLLIS SOMMER, Searsport, Maine, STEPHEN-DOUGLAS ANTIQUES, Stephen Corrigan & Douglas Jackman, Rockingham, Vermont; STONE BLOCK ANTIQUES,
Greg Hamilton, Vergennes, Vermont, and THE OLE CROWS, Regina McGrory and Eileen Vaughn, East Falmouth, Mass.

The show will also feature a display of antique quilts, with each one telling a story. Kate Farrish, secretary of the Tolland Historical Society and author of the Tolland chapter of the “Connecticut 169 Club” book will be selling and signing copies of the book. It features a chapter on each of our state’s 169 towns and cities and costs $24.95, with the proceeds being donated to the Society.




    Opportunity for Tolland Businesses to Support the Tolland Historical Society

     To support the Tolland Historical Society, local businesses can advertise their products and services in three upcoming ways.
     Your ads can run in the Antiques Show Book at the 53rd annual Tolland Antiques Book, in the quarterly Tolland Times and on the website, at tollandhistorical.org.
     The book reaches a large audience of visitors and dealers. A full-page, 5 x 8-inch ad in the book is $90; a half-page, 5 x 4-inch ad is $50, and a quarter-page, 5 x 2-inch ad is $35.
For the past 14 years, the Times has circulated to society members and Tolland residents.
      The cost for an ad in the newsletter is $30 for the year if purchased alone, or you can purchase an ad in the Antiques Show Book and spend an extra $15, and you can have double coverage.
      If you purchase a dual advertising block, you get a free business card-sized ad on the website.
      To advertise, contact Show Director Mary-Pat Soucy if you are interested in advertising at mpsoucy@comcast.net or 860-803-0034. The deadline to submit advertising materials is Feb. 28.




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