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.


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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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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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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Native American and Colonial Encampment Postponed

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the 17th Century encampment planned for May 19 and 20 has been postponed.
It will be rescheduled for this summer, and the Tolland Historical Society will post a new date when it has been set.
We regret any inconvenience this may cause.

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New Tolland Military Museum to Open on May 27

The Tolland Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new museum at 749 Tolland Stage Road, adding to the cultural vitality of the Tolland Green neighborhood. 

The Tolland Military Museum will include the extensive private collection of Richard J. Provencher of Ashford, a retired Connecticut National Guard member and former commander of the American Legion Post 14 and the Tolland VFW. The collection features several military campaigns, including World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm.

The Town of Tolland has long supported military members and their families. Recently, the town council voted to lease the “barn” (the former resident state troopers’ office behind the Old Tolland County Jail and Museum) for purposes of a museum. This building was originally built as part of the Tolland County jail system, consisting of the jail, the barn and 100 acres of farmland where Tolland Middle School now sits. The most recognizable sight on the property today is the jail museum at 52 Tolland Green.

The Tolland Military Museum will open from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 27, the same day the Tolland Memorial Day Parade will be held, beginning at 1 p.m. along the Tolland Green.

The museum will be open seasonally May thru September and will have programs on Veterans Day in honor of veterans across the state. Admission is free, but donations are always appreciated. 

For more information, please contact Mary-Pat Soucy from the Tolland Military Museum, at Tollandmilitarymuseum@gmail.comor at 860-803-0034 or Kathy Bach, president of the historical society, at kwbach@gmail.comor at 860-416-7030.

 

Some of the artifacts that will be on display in the new Tolland Military Museum

More artifacts from the Richard J. Provencher collection

Collector Richard J. Provencher, at right, with U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney

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