PROGRAMS FOR 2016
Free and open to the public.
Click here for our program information.
Sunday, December 4 (2-5 pm)
Christmas at the Old Meeting House. Christmas trees will be decorated by local organizations and businesses.
A display of Christmas Trees decorated by local organizations, including:
The Gardens of Wilbraham
St. Cecilia Church
Wilbraham Art League
Five Star Gardens
Evangel Assembly Church
Jennifer Powell Wallpapering
Wilbraham Brownie Troop #64587
Friends of Wilbraham Library
Rice Fruit Farm
Pioneer Valley Educ. Collaborative
Enjoy mulled cider, baked goodies, and plenty of Christmas spirit!
Visit our Business Partners Page
Old Meeting House Plans Historical Research
The Wilbraham 250th Celebration Committee was awarded a grant with which to publish an updated Wilbraham history book detailing important events that have taken place since the 1963 edition was published.
Wilbraham resident extraordinaire, Joan Paris, was hired as the book's editor. She asked the Atheneum Society Trustees to provide the history of the Society and its operation of the Old Meeting House.
Trustee Michelle Sampson wrote about the Underground Railroad and the legend that a tunnel connected the Wilbraham & Monson Academy Old Stone Church basement with the basement of the Old Meeting House was used for this purpose. It was reliably reported that in 1928, when Mountain Rd. was being reconstructed, a Town DPW truck fell through the tunnel and the tunnel was subsequently filled in.
Her research piqued the interest of the Atheneum Board members as well! The Board has asked the University of Massachusetts Archaeological Services for a proposal to scientifically recreate the existence of the tunnel and provide needed scientific proof. Director Dr. Eric Johnson and his team visited both sites recently and are preparing a proposal which the Trustees hope to soon present to the Town’s Community Preservation Committee for FY15 funding.
We will keep you updated on our progress!
Our September Open house was quite interesting. Thanks to John Jurkowski for sharing his collection of artifacts found using his metal detector. We were also lucky to have the contents of the Wilbraham time capsule.
Many thanks to Trustee Bill Steele for showing us his antique farm equipment at our August 2014 Open House
Interested in the History of Wilbraham?
If you are interested in the history of Wilbraham, then the Atheneum Society of Wilbraham is interested in you! Our non-profit organization is served by a board of trustees, whose numbers have dropped over the years while the number of members to the organization has been on the increase. We are seeking individuals who are interested in preserving local history as well as educating and involving the community.
There has never been a better time to join this important group! Our membership numbers have increased and our open house events have drawn record attendance. The year still holds some fascinating exhibitions and exclusive programs that are incorporated into our monthly open house events.
We meet monthly as a Board of Trustees from April through December. In addition, we staff the Old Meeting House on Main St. one Sunday each month for an open house event which includes a themed program. Knowledge of Wilbraham history is not required to be a trustee; the desire to know more about the town and its history is our only pre-requisite. Please feel free to share this request with anyone you know who fits this criteria.
We invite you to join us and leave your mark on the community. Use your personal strengths to support us and serve our community in a meaningful way by preserving its history. Anyone interested in joining the Atheneum Society of Wilbraham as a trustee can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What's New at
The Atheneum Society of Wilbraham
Atheneum Inventory Management (AIM) Project
The collections at the Atheneum Society of Wilbraham are a vital asset to our community, and the maintenance of those collections is the job of the curators. We, like many other small museums, have been maintaining and documenting the collections, contacts and donations on paper, until now.
We are excited to announce that our new volunteer curator team has obtained a laptop and purchased and installed a copy of PastPerfect software, the most widely used collection management software in the world. These volunteers have been meeting every week to slowly and steadily sort through paper records and museum collections; photograph, organize and label items; and enter descriptions, locations, dates and donors for each item onto the computer. When the project is finally complete, the items in our collection will be stored with accompanying multimedia information (such as images and document files) and easily searchable.
This cataloging process will not only provide a searchable database; it will also serve to familiarize the new curators with the collections, helping them to retrieve objects and information for research and development of intriguing museum exhibits, programs, and publications. It will strengthen the Atheneum Society of Wilbraham's ability to fulfill its mission by making it more efficient to share knowledge, educate and involve our local community. (3/2011)
Antique Autos have a lawn party at the Old Meeting House
Times - Girl Scouts Quilt Show
Wilbraham Native Americans Open House
OUTSTANDING OPEN HOUSES
IN RECENT YEARS
Thank you to our contributors at our October 2014 candlelight walking tour of Wilbraham’s historic Adams Cemetery. A large crowd listened to the re-enacted stories of some of those buried in the cemetery.
Many thanks to all of the businesses and organizations that participated in our 2014 Christmas Display.
And thank you to the Friends of Wilbraham Public Access who sponsored the Ice sculptures.
Wilbraham Charter visits the Old Meeting House
Many thanks to Gale Candaras for arranging for the original Wilbraham Charter to be brought to Wilbraham. The document was on display in the Old Meeting House on June 15, 2013, the 250th anniversary of its signing.
Approximately 100 visitors stopped in to see it.
This historic document signed on June 15, 1763 normally resides in the capital building in Boston. We also thank Michael Comeau, Executive Director of the Massachusetts State Archive, for delivering the Charter and for his abundant information. It arrived on Saturday, June 15, 2013 from Boston by police escort.
Find details about the Charter here.
We hope you enjoyed our Antique Clothing exhibit at our May 2013 open House.
In September 2012, the Old Meeting House Museum hosted a presentation on the Underground Railroad that drew a standing room only crowd.
The talk was presented by historian Steve Strimer of the David Ruggles Center for Early Florence History and Underground Railroad Studies. The Ruggles Center, named for an early abolitionist, documents the movement and settlement of fugitive slaves in the Connecticut River corridor of Massachusetts. Strimer discussed what has been preserved and uncovered about the Under-ground Railroad, in Western Massachusetts.
Our well attended open house on July 8th 2012 featured the Wilbraham Art League Exhibit entitled Yesterday's Artifacts, Today's Art. This unique art show offered an opportunity for each artist to create a work of contemporary art based on a historical artifact that inspired him or her. Participating artists chose an artifact from the collection at the Old Meeting House Museum.
The open house also included a dedication ceremony for the bell from the Second Baptist Church (circa 1800) from Butler Hill on Boston Road in Wilbraham. This bell was donated to us by Jesse Rice, and has been installed in our backyard garden. The display was made possible by a grant from the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. Many thanks to Joan Paris for presenting the dedication.
We'd also like to thank Friendly Ice Cream Corporation for providing ice cream and a freezer.