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 CLOSED

The Historical Society of Montgomery is temporarily closed to the public in order to help in the efforts to limit or slow the spread of coronavirus in our community.  For the next few weeks, our staff will have limited availability and may not be able to immediately respond to telephone calls or emails.  We will still try to return any inquiries as soon as we are able.  All of our scheduled events and programming during this time will also be canceled.  We apologize for any inconvenience.  Stay safe and healthy.

There are many ways to support the Historical Society of Montgomery County. We accept donations online, over the phone, and in person  for all of our campaigns. You may mail a check to : Historical Society of Montgomery County, 1654 DeKalb Street, Norristown, PA 19401. We also accept in memory of and planned giving donations. And we are also always interested in accepting Montgomery County History related objects and archives.

Membership is another great way to support us. Joining our membership offered special discounts and perks while the annual fee helps us maintain and preserve our county's past. See our Membership page for more information.

Volunteer! The Historical Society has a small paid staff and depends on volunteers to assist researchers, prepare for events, and perform a variety of other tasks. If you are interested in helping,please see our Volunteer page!

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. 

 CLOSED

The Historical Society of Montgomery is temporarily closed to the public in order to help in the efforts to limit or slow the spread of coronavirus in our community.  For the next two weeks, our staff will have limited availability and may not be able to immediately respond to telephone calls or emails.  We will still try to return any inquiries as soon as we are able.  All of our scheduled events and programming during this time will also be canceled.  We apologize for any inconvenience.  Stay safe and healthy.

 

 

The Historical Society of Montgomery County was formed in 1881 by county residents interested in collecting and sharing the legacy of Montgomery County, PA. Since then, we have continued to support the community’s cultural heritage through preservation, interpretation, and outreach. We offer a research library, small book shop, and exhibitions in our headquarters, and we own and maintain Historic Montgomery Cemetery.

The Historical Society is located in a residential neighborhood in the northern part of Norristown. There is a parking lot directly behind the building available for patrons.

Hours of Operation:

  • Monday: 10am - 5pm
  • Tuesday: 1pm - 8pm
  • Wednesday: 1pm - 8pm
  • Thursday: 10am - 5pm
  • Friday: CLOSED
  • Saturday: We are open the first Saturday of each month from 10am - 2pm.  Be sure to check our Calendar of Events for any closures.
  • Sunday: CLOSED

Address:  1654 DeKalb Street, Norristown, PA 19401

The entrance to Montgomery Cemetery is at the end of Hartranft Avenue, off of West Main Street, Norristown.
Address: 1 Hartranft Avenue, Norristown, PA 19401

The main entrance gate is locked to help prevent vandalism. Visitors are welcome to enter through the pedestrian gates. 

When Visiting:
The cemetery is a RIP (Restoration in Progress). With the help of many volunteers, the Historical Society of Montgomery County has achieved a great deal in bringing back some of the former glory, but there is still much work to be done. 

The main entrance gate is locked to help prevent vandalism. Visitors are welcome to enter through the pedestrian gates.  Please clean up after pets, which need to be leashed at all times. Be mindful of uneven terrain. Plots in need of repair may be hazardous. Please adhere to all posted guidelines and exercise caution if wandering off designated pathways.

memberpaypalbuttonThe Historical Society of Montgomery County offers multiple levels of membership.  These various levels provide greater benefits to those members wishing to partake in new events, presentations, and programs that we offer. Higher levels provide you or your business the opportunity to sponsor some of our newest programs and future exhibits.  [Download a Membership Form]

 

memberformpic 275wIndividual - $35
• Discounts on the cost of many programs, workshops, and classes
• Discounts on purchases in museum store
• Unlimited free admission to the Research Library
• A free copy of our annual journal, The Bulletin
• Our quarterly newsletter, The Acorn

Dual/Family - $50
• Entitles two persons, living together, and any children in the household under 18, access to the member benefits for one year.

Sustainer* - $100
All of the benefits enjoyed by members at the Dual / Family Level plus:
• Invitations for you and a guest to attend Special Events such as Exhibit Pre-Views, Behind-the-Scenes Tours, Cemetery Tours, and other programs as scheduled throughout the year.

The Acorn Society - $250
All of the benefits enjoyed by members at the Sustainer Level plus:
• Invitations for you and a guest to attend unique events and programs created just for Acorn Society members.
• Discounted prices on other special events and day trips

The Rittenhouse Collectors Club - $500
All of the benefits enjoyed by members at the Acorn Society Level plus:
• Invitations for you and a guest to participate in trips to see other collections, museums, historic and architectural sites.
• Invitations to view new objects as they are added to the collections
• Invitations to Special Gallery and Collections Talks
• Recognition of you, your organization or business on our website and in our newsletter, The Acorn
• Recognition of you, your organization or business on Donor Panel in Exhibit Gallery

1784 Sponsorship Circle - $1000
All of the benefits enjoyed by members at the Acorn Society Level plus:
• Free use of the Meeting Room for your group or business
• Special Recognition for one series of programs or one major event.
• Recognition of you, your organization or business on our website and in our newsletter, The Acorn
• Recognition of you, your organization or business on our Donor Wall


*While we no longer offer a Life Membership, those with a pre-existing Life Membership will continue to receive the same benefits as those at the Sustainer Level.

 

The Library holdings contain over thirty thousand titles including books, pamphlets, newspapers and archival materials. An overview of the items we hold is listed below. If you have questions about what is available before you come to do research, feel free to call us at 610-272-0297 or email us. Admission to the Library is free for members and $5 per day for non-members.

Collections and resources you'll find in our Library and Archives;

Ancestry.com

Explore Ancestry.com's collections of genealogical material including birth, marriage, death and census records detailing occupations, ages, siblings, birthplaces, addresses, and more – even maiden names. Available on-site only through our research computer workstations.

Newspapers

Microfilm copies of the Ambler Gazette, Norristown Register, Norristown Herald and the Norristown Times Herald are available. Unique holdings of the National Defender, Bauern Freund and the National Anti-Slavery Standard are also part of the collection. Additional local papers are available for research in various date ranges.

Family Files

Comprising over 1800 individual names, these papers have been collected over the years by researchers, staff and family members. They supply a wealth of information for any genealogist.

County Records

The Society houses county records of various types. Deeds (1784 - 1890), births (1893 - 1915), deaths (1893 - 1915), naturalizations (1817 - 1968), marriage licenses (1885 - 1943), taxes by township (1784 - 1935), sheriff dockets, and miscellaneous deed books are several of our more commonly used county resources.

Scrapbooks

Collected from the local newspapers, clippings of a wide diversity from obituaries to important court cases, from family happenings to politics and industry have been preserved. These newspaper scrapbooks have been indexed and are available to researchers.

City Directories

Pre-dating phonebooks, these directories provide information about where people lived and information on their occupation. The Directories range in date from 1860 - 1978. Most cover Norristown, Bridgeport and Pottstown.

Archival Collections

The Society has collected primary resource materials from countless citizens from Montgomery County. Diaries and recollections, correspondence and account books are all items that document the lives of people from this area such as Fornance, Holstein, Matthews and Bean.

Church Records

The Historical Society preserves many records from Montgomery County's church records, from baptisms to burials. Click here to view the church records we have in the library.

Federal Census

The Society has microfilm from every Montgomery County census available to the public from 1790 to 1930 (except for 1890), with indexes. Additionally, the 1850 US Census for Montgomery County was reprinted in the Historical Society's Bulletin. To find out more, follow this link.

Photographic Collection

Local photographs and postcards grouped by collection and topic are available to researchers. Photographs are available for reproduction. Inquiries should be made in person.

Maps and Atlases

When conducting research, it is helpful to take a look at maps from the time period to better understand your topic. The maps in the collection cover many areas of the county. Particularly helpful are the Atlases of Montgomery County from 1871, 1877 and 1893. These are complimented by many railroad atlases.

We accept donations online, over the phone, and in person for all of our campaigns. You may also mail a check to: Historical Society of Montgomery County, 1654 DeKalb Street, Norristown, PA 19401.

Annual Fund - To make your gift to the Annual Fund, simply click on the PayPal button below or if would like to make a gift over the phone, please call (610) 272-0297.

 

The Historical Society of Montgomery County is a 501c3 tax-exempt organization.  As such, all contributions are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. Please check with your tax professional for more information.

Boxes for Books - Save Our Rare Books!‚Äč HSMC has over 300 rare books in its collection. So that future generations may enjoy and use the books for research, each one will be preserved in an acid-free box measured to fit. You can help by buying a box. They are $10 each and our staff will create a label for each box with the donor's name or a designated name on it. For the person who had everything, this would be a great opportunity to honor a loved one.

Use Amazon Smile - When you shop at Amazon Smile, Amazon donates .5% of every sale that is made through the Amazon Smile link to us if you indicate the Historical Society of Montgomery County as your designated charitable organization.

In Memory of - We would be honored to receive contributions in memory of a loved one. An acknowledgment will be sent to you, as the contributor, or to the family of the memorialized person if you provide the contact information.

Any donation can be made for a specific purpose or project of your choosing, or for the endowment.

Planned Giving
Make a Planned Gift to the Society through with the counsel of your attorney or accountant. We are happy to help donors with any questions you, your accountants or lawyers may have. Some possible types of Planned Gifts include:
• Charitable Trusts
• Gifts of Life Insurance
• Gifts of Real Estate
• Gifts of Tangible Personal Property
• Wills & Revocable (Living) Trusts

Artifacts and Collections
If you have items that you would like us to consider adding to our museum collections, please contact the Society staff.

The Historical Society of Montgomery County engages with the public to collect, preserve, and interpret the documents, artifacts, and stories that reflect the evolving mosaic that is our county.