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.

17th Century Weekend Postponed

The Tolland Historical Society is sorry to announce that the 17th Century weekend planned at the Daniel Benton Homestead for Saturday, Nov. 3 has been postponed due the rainy weather that has been forecast.
It will be rescheduled for next spring, and we will let you know the date when it is available.
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Trick or Treaters Welcome at Old Tolland County Jail on Halloween

The Old Tolland County Jail and Museum will be open for trick or treaters on Halloween night from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Stop by and see us at 52 Tolland Green in Tolland and show off your costumes.

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Two Worlds Meet — Native American and Colonial Encampment on Nov. 3

Daniel Benton Homestead Museum
154 Metcalf Road, Tolland
Saturday, Nov. 3, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

The Benton Homestead will welcome Native American and English colonial reenactors who portray life in 17th century New England. The talented interpreters in period clothing will focus on how Native Americans interacted with the English colonists during the 1600s as settlements expanded throughout the region. Visitors can speak with skilled artisans who demonstrate the daily life of both cultures.
Demonstrations include flint knapping, 17th century medicines, open hearth cooking, quill work, finger weaving, military drills and arms and armor.
The museum will also be open for tours. The weekend is a unique opportunity to experience a little bit of New England as it was 300 years ago in an authentic setting. This is a family-friendly event that only happens once a year.

Benton Homestead Director Gail White Usher, center, at the 2017 encampment

 
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Popular Silhouette Fundraiser Returns Nov. 11

     Appointments can be made now for a sitting with silhouette artist Marcella Comerford on Appointments can be made now for a sitting with silhouette artist Marcella Comerford on Sunday, Nov. 11 at an event that will benefit the Tolland Historical Society.

     By appointment only, Comerford will provide beautiful, hand-cut silhouettes that day at the Old Tolland County Court House Museum. They make a one-of-a-kind gift for the holidays. 
     A portion of the proceeds will benefit the society, which operates the museum at 53 Tolland Green in Tolland.
     All work is done free-hand, and even wiggly children are welcome. 
     Appointments can be made by signing into www.signupgenius.comand searching for 
portraitsinsilhouette@gmail.com. Click on Silhouette Appointments at Tolland Historical Society 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. A portion of each sale benefits the Society. 
     

     For questions, email Ni-Ni Reinard at nkjtr@sbcglobal.net.

 

 

 

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First Tolland History Camp is a Success!

Six girls from Tolland have learned all about life in the 1800s while attending the Tolland Historical Society’s first Tolland History Camp the week of July 23.
The camp, lead by instructor Talie Lyon, 15, and Society President and Museum Director Kathy Bach, has been held at the Old Tolland County Jail and Museum. The girls, all going into the fourth grade this fall, churned butter, made ice cream and pudding, learned about the museum’s exhibits, washed and wrung out clothes by hand and learned crafts such as quilting and quilling.
This Friday, July 25, they’ll dress in period costumes and go to the nearby Hicks-Stearns Museum on Tolland Green for a formal tea.

Here are some scenes from Tolland History Camp:

Grace Condos churns butter.

Abbie Poulin tries her hand at churning butter.

It’s Aubrey Peters’ turn to make the butter.

The campers sample the butter they churned.

The campers learned how to wash and dry clothes the old-fashioned way.

Camper Mia Santini, 8, hung up the clothes to dry in the cellblock of the Old Tolland County Jail.

Ava Sapere, 8, at left, and Mia Santini, 8, practice weaving on hand looms at history camp.

 

The campers and their leaders, from left: Mia Santini, Kaylee Edgar, Museum Director Kathy Bach, Abbie Poulin, Grace Condos, instructor Talie Lyon, Aubrey Peters and Ava Sapere.

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Society is raising funds for two museum projects

The Tolland Historical Society is asking for the community’s help in supporting two important projects at our museums.
First, the cupola on the 1822 Old Tolland County Court House Museum is going to need extensive repairs. The building is safe to visit while an expert contractor is studying its internal structure to determine the scope of the project. In the meantime, the Society has started a cupola fund and is now accepting donations to it.
Second, the Daniel Benton Homestead will turn 300 years old in 2020, and the Society wants to be sure it is spruced up in time for that milestone. The Society has started a Paint the Benton fund and welcomes gifts.
Tax-deductible donations can be sent to the Tolland Historical Society, P.O. Box 107, Tolland, CT 06084. Please designate whether you want the funds to support the cupola fund or the Benton fund or to be evenly divided between the two. Gifts of any size are welcome and much appreciated.
 
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Museums Closed on July 1, 8

The Tolland Historical Society’s museums will be closed Sunday, July 1 and Sunday, July 8 to observe Independence Day.
The museums – the Daniel Benton Homestead, the Old Tolland County Jail and Museum and the Old Tolland County Court House Museum – will reopen on Sunday, July 15 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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You’re invited to the Tolland Historical Society’s Annual Meeting

     Anyone interested in learning more about the Tolland Historical Society is invited to its annual meeting on Sunday, June 24 at the Old Tolland County Jail and Museum at 52 Tolland Green.
     The event begins with a free tour of the new Tolland Military Museum in the former barn behind the jail museum. The annual meeting will follow in the jail museum.
     The public is invited to come learn more about the Society’s museums and programs. We always need new, energetic volunteers.
     If you can’t make the meeting but you’re interested in volunteering, contact President Kathy Bach at kwbach@gmail.com.

 

 

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Tolland Green Photo Exhibit Back by Popular Demand

A Stroll Down Tolland Green…Then and Now

A photo exhibit showing many of the buildings on the Tolland Green was so popular last fall that the Tolland Historical Society has brought it back for this summer!
The exhibit runs Sundays this summer, except for July 1 and 8 and Sept. 2, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Old Tolland County Court House Museum at 53 Tolland Green.
There are more than 50 homes on the Tolland Green that are on the National Register of Historic Places, including some that are over 250 years old.
The courtroom walls have come alive with pictures of buildings on the Green from the 1700s and 1800s, compared to the present day.
Visitors will see how the Green has evolved and yet stayed the same. Come learn about the history of the houses, the families that lived there, the shops, taverns and other businesses in the town center.
Admission is free, but donations are always welcomed.

A tavern at 59 Tolland Green that burned down in 1896

 

Open Sunday Afternoons

     The Tolland Historical Society’s three museums are now open on Sunday afternoons through September from 1 to 4 p.m. except for July 1 and 8 for Independence Day and Sept. 2 for Labor Day.
     The new Tolland Military Museum, which is located behind the Old Tolland County Jail and Museum, is also open the same Sundays, with the same hours, through September.
     Admission is free to all of the museums, but donations are always welcome.

 

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Two important announcements for May 18 and 19

Parking for Prom Photos on the Green

Prom goers are invited by the Tolland Historical Society to use the parking lots behind the Jail and Court House Museums when taking prom photos on the Tolland Green this Friday, May 18, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.. We urge you to use care when crossing the roads. Have a fun prom!”

A Call-Out for Student Interns

The Old Tolland Jail & Court House Museums are about begin the 10th year of its successful intern program.

An Informational session for students interesting in learning more about the program will be held on Saturday, May 19 beginning at 10 a.m. at the Jail Museum shed display area at 52 Tolland Green.

Designed for students entering 7th through 12th grade in the fall, the Student Intern Program involves students in all aspects of a working museum: from accessioning, designing displays, maintaining the museums, participating in Sunday events and historic demonstrations to giving tours.

The hours of commitment are summer Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and/or July and August Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon. It’s a great experience and loads of fun! Successful students earn community service hours and a letter of recommendation.

For more information, please contact Kathy Bach, Museum Director, at 860-872-7716 or email her at kwbach@gmail.com.

 

 

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