The Historical Society of Montgomery County began in 1881 just three years before the County's centennial celebration. Inspired by the upcoming anniversary, a group of notable county residents created the Historical Society to protect local history. It valued the educational opportunities involved in their pursuits, specifically mentioning the exhibition and research purposes available through their efforts. They believed that the Historical Society could cooperate with other local historical organizations and become a place where individuals could learn at a glance what other collections could offer. In addition to these, the society sought to collect public and private collections related to county's people, events, and places; public records from the county records that were to be destroyed; newspaper files printed throughout the county; and, census, church and cemetery records.
In 1896, the Society acquired Borough Hall in Norristown to hold its collection in the large fireproof vault on the first floor of the building. After some renovations, the Society opened to the public for educational programs, library research, and collections exhibits. By 1915, the Society had a collection of over "two thousand volumes in addition to manuscripts, old newspapers, diaries, and other material of peculiar value" and over four hundred supporting members.
Borough Hall would remain the home of Society until the 1950s, when the Society required a larger fireproof space for its collections. The Society moved to a building in a quaint Norristown neighborhood, constructing an entirely fireproof building. The Historical Society continued to expand its collections and membership throughout the twentieth century, including an addition to the current building in 2002.
The Historical Society also acquired the Montgomery Cemetery in 1997 after years of neglect and vandalism. The Historical Society's members were supported by community groups, Civil War groups, and private citizens throughout the restoration and beautification efforts at the cemetery. See more about the cemetery's history here.
Over the course of the twentieth century, the Society's collection now includes family genealogy files, early deeds, tax records, maps, census records, photographs, scrapbooks, newspapers and more. In our collection vaults, we hold valuable objects from furniture, paintings, inventions, scientific instruments, and textiles.