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.


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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Bell tower rededicated on the 1822 Old Tolland County Court House Museum on Sunday, Nov. 14

Thank you to the 40 supporters and donors to the Tolland Historical Society who turned out Nov. 14 to rededicate the bell tower on the Old Tolland County Court House Museum.

With many gifts, large and small, the society raised more than $100,000 to match a $100,000 state historic preservation grant to repair and restore the bell tower when extensive rot was found inside the structure holding the original bell.

Over five months this summer and fall, Valley Restoration of Torrington did an excellent job on the project. The society’s fundraising motto had been “Let History Ring!” and on Sunday, we were once again able to ring the bell.

The committee that oversaw the project, from left to right: consulting architect Robert Hurd, Society volunteer Dr. Sharron Laplante, Paul Bastiaane, president of Valley Restoration; Society President Kathy Bach; Society volunteer Dave Geissler and Vice President Celeste Senechal.

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Willington Pizza raises $7,000 toward unforeseen repairs on the Court House Museum bell tower

Thank you very much to Jeff Kelly, the owner of Willington Pizza House and Willington Pizza Too, for making a $7,000 donation to the Tolland Historical Society, which equal the proceeds of a recent fundraiser.

Kelly agreed to donate a portion of sales at both restaurants on Nov. 5, 6 and 7 to help the society cover an unanticipated $24,000 in repairs that were discovered while we were restoring the bell tower on the Old Tolland County Court House Museum.

Kelly opened Willington Pizza in 1978 with four tables as basically as a one-man operation. By 1981, it had outgrown its original location and moved to its current location at 25 River Road (Route 32) in Willington. The second location, at 11 Phelps Way in Willington, opened in 1988.

Any business that would like to hold a similar fundraiser may contact society volunteer Mary-Pat Soucy at mpsoucy@comcast.net.

Individual donations are always welcome as well and can be made at this website or by mail to Tolland Historical Society, P.O. Box 107, Tolland, CT 06084.

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Spooky fun on Halloween at the Jail Museum

More than 300 trick and treaters and their parents stopped by the Jail Museum on Halloween evening where Museum Director Kathy Bach, her trusty friend Gidget and the dedicated interns in the Tolland Historical Society supplied the treats.

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Trick or Treating at the Jail Museum on Halloween

Calling all goblins: the Old Tolland County Jail and Museum on the Tolland Green will be open for trick or treating on Halloween from 5 p.m. to 8 p .m. or until the treats run out!

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Donation from Banner Water Puts Our Bell Tower Campaign Over the Top

Congratulations and thank you to Beth and Sean Banning of Banner Water, LLC whose continued support and $5,000 donation literally put the Tolland Historical Society “over the top” in our campaign to match a $100,000 state grant with funds of our own to restore the bell tower on the Old Tolland County Court House Museum.

Please drive by and enjoy the beauty of local history restored. Watch for re-dedication events to come.

Tolland Historical Society volunteer Dr. Sharron Laplante, at left, and President Kathy Bach accept the generous donation from Beth and Sean Banning, owners of Banner Water LLC, on Saturday, Oct. 16 in front of the museum.

Give this a listen as we Let History Ring!

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The Court House bell tower restoration is nearly done

The roof on the Old Tolland County Court House was completed on Sept. 30.
The installation of lightning protection is scheduled for Oct. 6.
The photos today show the taped seams of the plywood sub roof, two rows of ice and water protection. Also show are details of the copper flashing and the drip edge that was installed.

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Guess the Artifact!

Here’s the Guess the Artifact that we featured at Celebrate Tolland today. Any guesses what it is?

It’s an old-fashioned lunch box, with a cup, soup container, plate and extra storage.

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Ringing the bell again!

The restoration of the bell tower atop the Old Tolland County Court House Museum is nearly complete, and this week, Paul Bastiaanse, president of Valley Restoration, the contractor on the project, Kathy Bach, president of the Tolland Historical Society and society volunteer Dr. Sharron Laplante tested out the bell.

It worked and will once again ring out across the historic Tolland Green.

The Tolland Historical Society is still raising funds to complete the project. If you would like to help, please use the “donate” button on this website, tollandhistorical.org, or mail a check to Tolland Historical Society, P.O. Box 107, Tolland, CT 06084. Indicate that the gift is for the bell tower project on the memo line

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