News Blog

An American Nurse at War

Brattleboro Historical Society presented ‘An American Nurse at War’ – The Story of WWI Red Cross Nurse Marion McCune Rice – on Sunday 9 November 2014. Presented by Steve Hooper with help from Tom Durnford.


A WTSA Radio Tribute to Andy Natowich

Denny Robinson and Bill Holiday pay tribute to Coach Andy Natowich, who died October 30 at the age of 95.

Andy Natowich was a long-time football and baseball coach at Brattleboro Union High School.  He went on to win four state championships in football, including a 1965 championship team that is still widely regarded as the best single football team in state history. He continued as baseball coach until 1974 and remained a stalwart presence in the community throughout his life.

Bill Holiday and Denny Robinson, both members of that famed 1965 state champion football team, recalled their experiences with Coach Natowich in this rare, commercial-free, radio tribute, broadcast on WTSA, Saturday, November 8, 2014.

September Gallery Walk

Come join us on Friday, September 5 from 2-8PM at the History Center on Main Street. Volunteers will be ready to answer your questions and talk Brattleboro history with you. Some of our exhibits include 2 Doug Cox Train Station dioramas, a visual history of Island Park, Brattleboro baseball team memorabilia and an elaborate dollhouse made by Estey Organ Factory workers. We have books, cards, postcards and much more for sale as well, so come on down! Gallery Walk Sept. 6, 2014

February 7 Gallery Walk

Free admission: Open 4-8 for Gallery Walk.  Our toy display continues with a truck and a train specially crafted from wood and  handmade dolls as well as an amazing Estey employee-built furnished dollhouse. Glimpse at Rudyard Kipling through Mary Cabot’s personal journal entries (“Annals of Brattleboro, 1681-1895” author); peruse her amazing photo albums. Play a locally made Estey Field Organ. Read VT Phoenix weeklies from 1895.  Learn about Crosbys, Esteys, and Moodys. Inspect the Ft. Dummer replica;  Old signs, maps, prescriptions, gowns bottles and more.

December Gallery Walk – Toys

Free admission: Open 4-8 for Gallery Walk.  Our new display for the holidays is TOYS. See a truck and a train specially crafted from wood, and enjoy handmade dolls and much more. Glimpse Rudyard Kipling through Mary Cabot’s journal entries (“Annals of Brattleboro, 1681-1895” author); peruse her photo albums. Play a locally made Estey Field Organ. Read VT Phoenix weeklies from 1895.  Learn about Crosbys, Esteys, and Moodys. Inspect the Ft. Dummer replica;  Old signs, maps, prescriptions, gowns.

Voices From the Grave

We have added our Voices From the Grave recordings to our SoundCloud. These are voice actors speaking as several well known personalities from Brattleboro’s past. Josie Mansfield, Madame Sherri, and Jacob Estey come alive through sound. Listen here.

Richard Michelman to speak at Brattleboro History Center

Our Annual Meeting and Presentation will be held November 17, 2013 at 2pm, at the Brattleboro History Center, 196 Main Street, Brattleboro. It is open to the public and light refreshments will be served.

“Growing Up in Brattleboro” Richard Michelman is a Brattleboro native and the last surviving co-author of Before Our Time. Michelman, raised in Brattleboro, taught social studies in the Brattleboro school system. His interest in history and antiques started as a teenager and became a life-long avocation, attending and working at auctions, performing appraisals and sharing his knowledge. Michelman’s father was a downtown merchant for many years, owning Michelman’s (a mens clothing store) on Main Street. He will be sharing his collection of rare stereopticon views of Brattleboro.

before our time cover

Michelman is remembered by BHS board member Karen Davis:
I remember Richard Michelman as one of the sons of the kindly gentleman who owned and operated Michelman’s Men’s Clothing Store on Main Street, Ralph Michelman, during the 1950’s and ’60’s. Richard was active at an early age as a “runner” at different auction houses, showing the item up for auction to members of the audience so they would bid against each other more actively.  Then he would deliver the item to the highest bidder.
Eventually Richard offered his expertise with antiques to clients wanting advice or appraisals.  You know about the wonderful book on Brattleboro he co-authored, an excellent compilation of articles and photographs.

BHS Board Member Chip Cummings remembers:
Richard was my 8th social studies teacher and I am also a social studies teacher, mainly U.S. History.
It was for his class that I wrote a history of the Creamery bridge that ended up in the Reformer. A couple years later I wrote the Events of the Past column for the Reformer. Richard Richard Michelman certainly played a role in inspiring me.

Join us for a fascinating afternoon learning or reminiscing of times gone by in our Brattleboro.

October Gallery Walk

Visit the Brattleboro Historical Society in two locations for Gallery Walk  (we are #35) on Friday, October 4, 2014.

We are staffing our Research Room located on the third floor (enter back door, handicapped accessible) of the Municipal Center at 230 Main Street. Here we store our 10,000+ photographs, 100s of files relating Brattleboro’s rich history, newspapers from the 19th and 20th century, paper collections, maps and so much more.

Our History Center located in the Masonic Center at 196 Main Street will also be open where you can see ever changing artifact displays and purchase merchandise relating to the history of Brattleboro, including books, photos and more. Conveniently located just adjacent to the Baptist Church on Main Street.

We hope to see you there!

New England’s Colonial Meetinghouses Talk

Photographer Paul Wainwright will present at talk on New England’s colonial meetinghouses on Wednesday, September 25, at 7 PM at Brooks Memorial Library.

Using photographs of the few surviving “mint condition” meetinghouses as illustrations Wainwright will tell  the story of the society that built and used them, and the lasting impact they have had on American culture.
New England’s colonial meetinghouses embody an important yet little-known chapter in American history. Built mostly with tax money, they served as both places of worship and places for town meetings, and were the centers of life in colonial New England communities.

Wainwright has always loved photography and history, but he was captured by physics in high school, eventually getting a PhD in it from Yale. He worked for many years at Bell Labs, with photography being a continuing avocation. Since 2001 he has been pursuing his love of photography and history full-time, and is especially drawn to photograph historic structures in personal and introspective ways. Wainwright’s book, A Space for Faith: The Colonial Meetinghouses of New England,was published in 2010.

The talk is sponsored by the  by the Vermont Humanities Council

Brattleboro Historical Society Has New Website

Steam locomotive crossing Railroad Bridge over the Whetstone Brook in BrattleboroThe Brattleboro Historical Society has a new website designed to make it easy for volunteers to update, edit and add new information.

The new site has the same web address:

New features include a section devoted to the new Brattleboro History Center on Main Street, blog features for adding news updates like this one, better control and identification tools for images, and larger, clearer type for easier reading.

Volunteers will be able to curate slide show exhibits, and help tag unidentified images in the collection.

BHS worked with MuseArts, Inc. of Brattleboro, VT on the site revisions.

Brattleboro History Center Sneak Preview

Fort Dummer model at Brattleboro History Center

Fort Dummer model at Brattleboro History Center

The Brattleboro Historical Society will unveil its new downtown History Center with a preview opening featuring special hours during June’s first-Friday Gallery Walk and Strolling of the Heifers weekend.

The new center on the first floor of the Masonic building at 196 Main St. (with a separate south-side entrance and rear-door wheelchair ramp) will feature the first of a series of changing exhibits — starting with a look at local agricultural history, farm life and the former Valley Fair — on Friday, June 7, from 5 to 8 p.m., Saturday, June 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sunday, June 9, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Since its founding in 1982, the Brattleboro Historical Society has worked to shelter and share locally significant facts and artifacts so present and future generations can learn from the past.

The volunteer-run nonprofit hopes its new History Center will give residents and organizations the opportunity to explore their local heritage and add to the variety and vitality of downtown by collaborating on permanent and changing exhibits and ongoing public talks, workshops and other programs.

After the weekend preview, the History Center will be open for regular hours on Thursdays and Fridays from 2 to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 to 3 p.m.

(The society’s research room — housing a two-century collection of records, photographs and bound newspapers on the third floor of the town Municipal Center at 230 Main St. — will continue to be open Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon and by appointment.)

People seeking more information about the society, its Municipal Center collections and the new History Center can call (802) 258-4957 or email