Windham Historical Society

About Us

 
 Historical Society Colonial Ladies describe a variety of artifacts. From left, Izzy Gilman, Linda Tetrault, Norma Rogers and Caroline Rowe.

Historical Society Colonial Ladies describe a variety of artifacts. From left, Izzy Gilman, Linda Tetrault, Norma Rogers and Caroline Rowe.


 Former Windham Historical Society President Linda Griffin on the Society's Fall History Tour.

Former Windham Historical Society President Linda Griffin on the Society's Fall History Tour.

Windham Historical Society(WHS) is a group of volunteers who believe in having fun with history.

Throughout the year, we offer interesting programs and creative fundraising events to raise awareness of our town's rich past. We enthusiastically welcome new members and we enjoy welcoming visitors at any time. 


The Society is located in the old Windham Town House building on Windham Center Road in Windham, Maine. There, you'll find an extensive collection of maps, town documents, cemetery records, journals, diaries, letters, school yearbooks, organization records, town reports, genealogy files, clothing, tools and implements, housewares, photographs, publications and artwork.
 
A library is available with dozens of books on many topics as well as an excellent selection of genealogy books.
 
We have collections of war memorabilia, encompassing all wars from the Revolutionary forward; furniture, household items, children’s toys, farming and shoemaking tools; bibles, coins, flags and over 24 large indexed scrapbooks including news items. Many notebooks with photos and information on houses and their history are available.

Our Mission

The goal of the Windham Historical Society is to foster interest in the history of the town by presenting relevant public programs, providing educational opportunities, and maintaining historical facilities where displays of the town’s past are available.

The Society collects materials, information, and objects which help verify and preserve Windham’s history and provide for the preservation of such material, making it accessible to all who wish to examine or study it.

 
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General Information

 
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We present programs to the public nearly every month, as well as bus tours, open houses, workshops, and participate in many town activities. The Society is a resource for any area of research regarding the history of the town, its organizations, and families.

In 1967, several residents of Windham who felt a strong desire to preserve and share the town’s history, organized the Windham Historical Society. For many years, meetings were held in private homes and community meeting rooms.

In 1983, the Town House was turned over to the Historical Society when town offices were moved to the newly renovated community center. Membership grew and the Town House, built in 1833, was turned into a museum, with a library and office. A fireproof walk-in safe used by the municipal officers to store town records, became a useful place for the Society to store its many donated documents and artifacts.

Two other historic buildings were obtained in the 1990s, the Windham Circulating Library which was moved to the Historical Society grounds in 2002 and the Old Grocery which is located at the corner of Windham Center Road and Route 302.

In 2010, the Windham Historical Society bought October House, named for its October purchase. The 2.52-acres property includes the house, a barn, an old gun shop, and a small garage. The house is currently being rented, but we hope to open it as a history museum in the future.

In 2012, the Society obtained the South Windham Library that was originally located in the Little Falls section of Gorham. It was moved to the Historical Society grounds in that same year and will become a museum dedicated to the South Windham section of town and a newly constructed ell will house artifacts from the South Windham Railroad Station.

In 1996 the Society applied for and received recognition by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501 (c) (3) organization. As such, all donations to the Society are tax deductible.

The Society headquarters and our buildings are open to the public. Hours vary by season, so check this website often for updates. Appointments can be made at any time of year.

Call (207) 892-1433 or email info@windhamhistorical.org.


Officers

Officers are elected at the annual meeting in October.

Current Officers

President: Susan Simonson

Vice President: Brien Richards

Treasurer: Linda Lunt

Secretary: Susan Simonson

Curator: Penny Loura

Historian: Penny Loura

Corporation Clerk: Michael J. Quinlan

 

Standing Committees

Building Maintenance & Grounds:  Sam Simonson

Displays:  Penny Loura, Chair

Education:  Open position*

Refreshments:  Open position*

Membership:  Carol Manchester, Chair

Programs:  Open position*

Publicity:  Haley Pal (General) / Open Position* (Programs

Newsletter:  Haley Pal, Editor

Volunteer Coordinator:  Open Position*  

Housekeeping:  Kevin Graham

Open Position* - please contact a board member if you are interested!


Meetings

 
 Long time members Louise Knapp and Elizabeth Winslow enjoy a historic moment at the annual meeting.

Long time members Louise Knapp and Elizabeth Winslow enjoy a historic moment at the annual meeting.

Business meetings are held by the Directors on a monthly basis, except for the month of December. Most meetings are held at the headquarters unless otherwise announced. All membership is welcome at the business meetings.

Workshops, field trips, and program meetings are held monthly on dates announced to the public.


Membership

 
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We invite you to join the Windham Historical Society and support one of Maine’s oldest community organizations, dedicated to preserving and collecting history!

Lifetime membership - $100.00

Family membership - $25.00 (one year)

Individual membership - $15.00 (one year)

As a member you will receive the newsletter as well as updates on future programs, workshops, and other events.

To join the Society, you can print and mail the membership application below or contact
the Membership Chair Carol Manchester.  Carol's email address is:  dcmanchester@msn.com

All costs of membership or financial donations are tax deductible!

 

Membership Services

Photocopies can be made of most items in our files for 25 cents per sheet.

Research by our staff (especially genealogical research), as time permits, is $20.00 per hour.

8x10 glossy photos on acid free paper, of any photo we have - $20.00 each

 


Giving

 
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The entire collection and archives of the Historical Society represent more than 40 years of donations of everything from books to 17th century baby clothes.

All collections and displays are the result of the generosity of hundreds of caring individuals and organizations. Donations of items are under the care of our curators. If you or someone you know has old newspapers, photos, or items you would like to donate to safe care for the future, please contact the curator or one of our members. You will receive a receipt and the assurance of our gratitude.

We have been very fortunate for several decades, to receive generous donations from many members and nonmembers. We would not be able to provide the services and resources we do without this help.

Membership dues make up one part of our financial resources, as well as sales of books and other items. Donations over and above dues, are always welcome and may be made by contacting the treasurer.

To donate stock, the donor gifts stock and receives a tax deduction for the full market value on the day of transfer. Since Windham Historical Society is a nonprofit organization, we can sell the stock, receive the proceeds, and pay no state or federal taxes on the gain. For more information on this option, please contact our Investment Advisory firm, Clark & Stuart, Inc. and ask for Charles (Rocky) Clark, CFP at (207) 775-1140 or email clarkandstuart@gmail.com.