Our Museums

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

OLD TOLLAND COUNTY JAIL AND MUSEUM
The oldest cellblock dates from 1856, jailer's home from 1893. Thousand of items used in Tolland homes, farms and businesses.

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

Become a Member

  • Become a Member

    BECOME A MEMBER OF THE TOLLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY:
    Support your local society by your family, individual or business membership. Included is admission to all museums during open hours. Click here to view and print form.

    VOLUNTEER
    One or two hours of your time and talent can make a difference to our museums. Click here to view and print form.


On Nov. 29, please consider making a gift to support the Tolland Historical Society

On Giving Tuesday 2022, Nov. 29, please consider making a tax-deductible gift to the Tolland Historical Society to help us preserve and tell Tolland’s story.

Donations can be made directly on this web site by using the yellow “Donate” button or checks can be mailed to Tolland Historical Society, P.O. Box 107, Tolland, CT 06084.

You can also designate the society to receive a portion of your purchases made through AmazonSmile.

Your gift of any size is much appreciated and will be used to support our programs for Tolland schoolchildren and residents of town and their guests as well as helping us to preserve and maintain our four museums: the Daniel Benton Homestead, the Old Tolland County Court House Museum, the Old Tolland County Jail and Museum and the Tolland Military Museum.

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History Talk set for Nov. 12 in Tolland on the Titan II Missile Program 

Carl Stidsen from Tolland (Major, USAF, Ret.), will give a free talk on Saturday, Nov. 12 on the Titan II Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program called “Life in a Cold War ICBM Site: On the Nuclear Bullseye.” 

The talk, set for 11 a.m. at the Old Tolland County Jail and Museum at 52 Tolland Green, is being co-sponsored by the Tolland Historical Society and the Tolland Veterans Recognition Commission. The talk will be followed by a light lunch at the Tolland Military Museum, which is behind the jail and accessible from Route 74. Admission, parking and lunch are all free.


During the Vietnam War-era, Stidsen served as a missile combat crew commander at a Titan II site in Arizona, logging over 8,000 hours underground during more than 380 nuclear alert tours, which each lasted 24 hours.
The weapon his crew controlled had a hydrogen bomb equal to nine megatons of dynamite, and yet – at age 24 – he was the oldest member of the four-man crew. Titan II was the last and largest liquid-fuel ICBM the U.S. ever fielded. 

Stidsen, the research librarian at the New England Air Museum, has been a pilot for 56 years and has been a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for 52 years. 

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Trick or Treating on Halloween at the Jail Museum

Come have a spooky experience on Halloween, Oct. 31, between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. by trick or treating at the Old Tolland County Jail and Museum on 52 Tolland Green.

Free and sponsored by the Tolland Historical Society.

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A joyous celebration of the 1822 Court House

On Saturday, Oct. 22, the Tolland Historical Society celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Old Tolland County Court House with festivities, period costumes, cupcakes and the long-awaited drawing to win a beautiful quilt made and donated by Society board member Sandy Gallup.

On this beautiful fall day, about 40 people toured the court house and viewed photos taken by Society board member Perne Maynard over the years as well as his photos of artifacts and historic photos in the Society’s collection.

Sandy Vicky was the happy winner of the quilt when Sandy Gallup and board member Cathy Wilcox, who organized the quilt drawing and sold tickets since the spring, drew the winning entry.

President Kathy Bach summed up the day and the Society’s mission by saying, “We keep and tell Tolland’s stories.”

Enjoy these photos of the special day by President Kathy Bach, Vice President Celeste Senechal, Perne Maynard and board member Mary-Pat Soucy. Pictured: Sal Carmosino, President Kathy Bach and Vice President in costume; board member Dave Geissler in green shirt; Sandy Gallup in the dark blue shirt; Cathy Wilcox in the lighter blue sweater and Sandy Vicky holding the quilt she won.

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Come celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Old Tolland Court House on Oct. 22!

The public is invited to join the Tolland Historical Society in celebrating the 200th anniversary of the museum at 53 Tolland Green from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine, with festivities and a final chance to view depicting the Court House over its 200 years.

Society volunteer Perne Maynard provided many recent photos of the courthouse for the exhibit and photographed many images and artifacts in the Historical Society’s collection.

Cupcakes will be prepared by LuAnn’s Bakery. For a $1 donation, people can take photos of friends and relatives in the wooden pillory. The celebration is free, and no advance registration is required.

At the event, the name of a ticket-holder will be drawn to win a beautiful handmade quilt by Tolland Historical Society volunteer Sandy Gallup.

The quilt, following a pattern called Sister’s Choice, is 70 inches x 82 inches. Tickets are $2 each and can be obtained by sending a check for the number of tickets desired and a stamped self-addressed envelope to Cathy Wilcox, 535 Old Stafford Rd., Tolland, CT 06084. Checks should be made out to Tolland Historical Society and include the word “quilt” on the memo line.

If requesting by mail, please identify your name and phone number where you can be reached so we can add it to the ticket stub. Allow about a week for the tickets to arrive from your request.

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History Talk on “Ukraine: Then and Now” Set for Sept. 25 in Tolland

Damien Cregeau, an independent Connecticut historian, will present an overview of Ukraine’s history over the past 150 years in a talk titled, “Ukraine: Then and Now,” on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 2 p.m. at the Old Tolland County Jail and Museum at 52 Tolland Green in Tolland.

The free talk is sponsored by the Tolland Historical Society.

Cregeau has given history talks throughout the eastern United States since 2007. He has a bachelor’s degree in history from Hillsdale College and a master’s degree in European history from Colorado State University.

His work has been published in several journals and magazines, including the Journal of the American Revolution and Connecticut History Review. He has traveled in Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine and given talks on Ukrainian-Russian history since 2014 following the Russian invasions of Crimea and southeastern Ukraine that year.

Cregeau will present a detailed look at Ukraine’s history as well as an overview of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s life and strategy in the invasions of Ukraine this year and in the past in Chechnya, Georgia and Syria.

Historian Damien Cregeau

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A busy weekend on Sept. 10 and 11

It’s a big weekend coming up for the Tolland Historical Society. Stop by our table at Celebrate Tolland on Saturday, Sept. 10 from noon to 4 at Tolland Middle School to learn more about local history, browse our books and merchandise and purchase a ticket for $2 to enter the drawing to win this beautiful homemade quilt by Sandy Gallup of Tolland.

Then on Sunday, come visit our museums and take part in the Tolland Public Library Foundation’s Oral History Training from 1:30 p.m. to 3 at the Old Tolland County Jail and Museum at 52 Tolland Green. For more information or to register, email Kate Farrish at katefarrish@gmail.com.

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Three Museums Will Be Open on Sunday, May 29 for Memorial Day Weekend

Three of the Tolland Historical Society’s museums, the Old Tolland County Jail and Museum, the Old Tolland County Court House Museum and the Tolland Military Museum will mark Memorial Day by opening to the public on Sunday, May 29 from noon to 3 p.m.

Come visit the museums before or after the 30th annual Tolland Memorial Day Parade, that starts at 1 p.m. along the Tolland Green.

The court house museum is at 53 Tolland Green. The jail museum is at 52 Tolland Green, and the military museum is housed in the former barn behind the jail.

Free parking is available in front of the military museum or behind the court house. Admission is free, but donations to support the museums are always appreciated.

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Come Grow with the Historical Society at the Benton Homestead

This summer, the Daniel Benton Homestead Museum is making its garden space available to Tolland people or groups.

It is inviting up to five families, residents, friends or groups to adopt a raised bed at the property at 154 Metcalf Road for the growing season. It will be up to the group or people to grow vegetables, pollinators or flowers in the beds, which are about 3-feet wide by 15-feet long.

They will also have to tend the garden while the museum will provide the raised bed and water (depending on weather conditions.) No chemicals, pesticides, herbicides or invasive species, please.We prefer annuals. If you do put in perennials, you will be responsible for removing them when the gardens are put to bed for the winter.

Your design does not have to recreate a colonial garden.Anyone who is interested should write up or draw a proposal for the bed and send it to Museum Director Gail Usher, 2 Bungay Hill Road, Woodstock, CT 06281 or by email to danielbentonmuseum@gmail.com by May 20.

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Tolland Historical Society Awarded $11,300 Humanities Grant

The Tolland Historical Society has been awarded an $11,300 CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant from CT Humanities.

The grant is for general operating support for museums and non-profit, municipal, state or Connecticut-based tribal nation organizations that provide cultural, humanities and arts projects and activities for the public.

The grant is among $16 million awarded to 624 organizations to help the state’s museums, cultural, humanities and arts organizations maintain and grow their ability to serve their community and the public. The grants can also be used to connect K-12 teachers and students to strong humanities and arts content and to improve and to improve the organizations’ information technology and digital infrastructure.

The Society will use the support grant for outreach to the Tolland community and local schools. The Society is grateful to CT Humanities and the selection committee for realizing the importance of our mission.

These grants are being administered by CT Humanities, with funding provided by the state Department of Economic and Community Development and the Connecticut Office of the Arts from the state legislature. The Society operates four museums: the Daniel Benton Homestead Museum, the Old Tolland County Court House Museum, the Old Tolland County Jail and Museum and the Tolland Military Museum.

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