Mission and Vision

The mission of the Cornwall Historical Society (CHS) is to make Cornwall’s story come to life through its collections, research, exhibits, explorations, and publications which illuminate the town’s place in the local, regional, and national narrative.

The Cornwall Historical Society is committed to the principle that public knowledge of Cornwall’s past is fundamental to its future. It is the society’s vision to be a vital resource for and contributor to life in Cornwall; to provide educational opportunities for a wide range of audiences; and to be a trusted source for the history of Cornwall and its people.

Our History

The Cornwall Historical Society, incorporated in 1965, seeks to preserve, promote and present the history of Cornwall and its people. The Society believes that awareness of its unique cultural, economic and social history enriches the Cornwall community and strengthens its sense of self, both in its own right and in the context of state, national and world events.

The Society’s collection is housed in a former Victorian carriage barn. CHS produces summer exhibits and programs on historical themes of interest to the local (and the wider) community. Its publishing program reaches out to a broader audience of historical researchers and includes reference materials such as town meeting minutes, census and vital statistics.

In 2003, CHS launched an effort to connect Cornwall’s history and the lives of its people to larger regional and national events. It adopted a long-range plan, reaffirmed its mission and, essential to the management and use of its growing collection, hired a part-time curator. The Board next tackled the need to renovate its deteriorating building. With the capital campaign and renovation completed in 2009, CHS now offers a museum-like setting for Cornwall’s artifacts and exhibits while retaining the building’s historical Victorian façade.

Our Building

The Cornwall Historical Society occupies a nineteenth-century Italianate-style carriage house that was constructed for John T. Andrew (1811-1887), who owned the nearby house at 9 Pine Street. Built ca. 1865, the building is notable for its cupola and its wide molded eaves with elaborate brackets. Historians believe that the carriage house may have been the work of master builder Cyrus William Marsh (1824-1899) of Cornwall. The building was later converted into a residence.

In September 1966, the Cornwall Historical Society acquired the building and started using it as its new headquarters and exhibition space. The Society made few changes to the building except to add a vault for its most precious collections.

In 2007, with the help of a grant and funds raised from the community, the building was renovated and a new addition was constructed. The process took almost two years to complete and focused on returning the exterior of the building to its original appearance. The building is one of the few structures in town executed in the full-blown Italianate style.

Staff & Board of Directors

Suzanne Fateh, Curator

Cindy Kirk, President
Susan Hellmann, Vice President
John Coffin, Treasurer
Ann Trowbridge, Secretary

Directors

Steve Brandfield
Ann Grant
Michael Heming
Jacque Schiller