In 1965, a group of Lebanon, CT residents met to organize a historical society. The following year, members planned and operated an outdoor antique show as a way to raise funds for a future museum building. In the mid-1990s with funds raised by the annual antique shows, donations from members and friends and the support of major donor Hugh Trumbull Adams, the Society purchased land and began construction of a modern museum building with galleries, a meeting room, offices, collections storage spaces, restrooms and an information center. The first exhibit opened to the public in 2000.
Since the Museum opened, the Society has expanded its campus with a combination of historic, reproduction and modern buildings. The publication program which began in the 1960s has been expanded to include books and pamphlets about local history and an award-winning quarterly newsletter.
The object and archival collections have grown to include materials with a strong Lebanon history. Most of the collections have been donated by local families, those who remain in the area and those who have moved away. While the collection includes a few objects that date to Lebanon’s colonial and Revolutionary War period, most date between the mid-1800 and the mid-1900s. These collections form the basis for gallery exhibits and historic buildings’ furnishings.
With about 300 members, a seventeen-member Board of Directors and three staff, the Lebanon Historical Society is open year round offering our visitors exhibits, research opportunities, programs and a chance to explore our community.
Mission statement – our purpose:
To encourage a sense of community, the Lebanon Historical Society connects residents and visitors with the people, places, objects and stories of the Town’s past.
Operating philosophy – what we do:
Through innovative and creative use of all our resources we will:
- preserve and interpret Lebanon’s historical record through active collecting and preservation, research, publications, programs and exhibits;
- emphasize Lebanon’s role in past wars, especially the American Revolution;
- present and illuminate Lebanon’s past through engaging programs and communications;
- value our visitors and supporters and provide programs and services that meet their needs and interests;
- make Lebanon’s history interesting, relevant and fun;
- share what we have learned about connecting our constituents to the past with colleagues at other heritage organizations.
Organizational values – what we believe:
- History inspires us to care about the place where we live.
- History helps us to better understand the present.
- History must be preserved for future generations.
- History can and must be engaging for people of all ages.
Vision – our hope for the future:
By sharing an awareness of local history, the Lebanon Historical Society seeks to provide our community and visitors with connections to the past, an understanding of the present and a sense of responsibility for the future.