Chapel Hill Historical Society Seeks New Home


By Tina Benson

The Chapel Hill Historical Society is seeking a new home for its collections of materials that document and explore the history of Chapel Hill. These materials have been housed in space that the Town of Chapel Hill provided to the Society in the lower level of the Chapel Hill Public Library. Over the past year, the Society has co-shared this space with the library’s new Community History Office. In August, management of the Chapel Hill Public Library informed the Society that they would need to remove their collections from that space.

Historical Society president Richard Ellington notes, “We always knew that there was a chance that we would need to find a new home and, over the past few years, we have reduced the size of our footprint and removed our administrative office and related materials as the library’s needs have grown. However, we had hoped that our large reference collection—which includes 800 reference books, 2500 photos and prints, 40 boxes of vertical files, bound volumes of Chapel Hill Weekly and Chapel Hill News from 1923-2011, copies of the Anvil, and Chapel Hill News Leader newspapers and high school yearbooks—could remain in the Community History Office space to be readily accessible to researchers and the general public.

“The Historical Society is fully supportive of the library’s initiative to provide space for members of our community to explore and tell their stories and develop a more inclusive history of our town. In doing so, we believe understanding our past—both good and bad—provides a foundation for understanding these histories.”

The Historical Society has reached out to town officials and others to seek assistance in finding new space for its collections.

“We estimate that we need a minimum of 500 to 600 square feet and welcome any suggestions the public may have,” Mr. Ellington stated. “You can email us at I also want to stress that while we undertake this search, our programs and activities are continuing. We’re excited to return to in-person programs in November.

“Our program ‘Everything You Should Have Learned in High School about the Declaration of Independence’ will take place on Sunday, November 20, at 3pm in meeting room B of the library. As always, the program is free and open to the public. We also expect that the next installment of our ‘History of Hope’ exhibit at the Orange County Historical Museum will open in mid-November.”

Tina Benson is a board member of the Chapel Hill Historical Society.

The views and opinions expressed in a Guest Column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Local Reporter. To promote diverse community discussions, Guest Column submissions are accepted without regard for donor or non-donor status, affiliations, or positions advanced, provided they do not violate policies of the newspaper. Light editing may be applied for length and clarity.

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