NORWICH – Members of the Norwich Historical Society took some time Sunday to look back on what they called a very successful year, while also setting the stage for upcoming programming and events.
During the society’s annual meeting inside Norwich Free Academy’s Slater Auditorium, group consultant Regan Miner said three projects came to fruition during the last few months, including the opening of the Norwich Heritage & Regional Visitors’ Center in June, the continued popularity of historical trail walks and the creation of the Discover Norwich exhibit, which features several panels inside the visitors center highlighting the city’s history.
“One of the things I’m most proud of is Walk Norwich trails, including the completion of the Benedict Arnold trail,” she said. “And we continue to work on the Emancipation Trail, which will highlight Norwich abolitionists.”
Miner said the society this year will continue its Second Saturday historical walks and its William B. Stanley Lecture series and will partner with the Uncas Elementary School to integrate local history into the school’s curriculum.
“We’d also love to bring back the Samuel Huntington wreath-laying event,” she said.
Huntington, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was president of the Continental Congress from 1779 through 1781. For years, a ceremony was held at his tomb at the Colonial Cemetery in Norwichtown.
Society President Bill Champagne said the group’s lecture series has paid a recent dividend. About two years ago, a talk by representatives of Vermont’s Lake Champlain Maritime Museum struck a chord with society members.
“They had an exhibit of an early battle of the Revolutionary War that involved Benedict Arnold,” Champagne said. “We ended up creating a traveling version of that ‘Key to Liberty’ exhibit which last week was given a permanent place in the Kent-Delord House Museum in Plattsburg, N.Y.”
Arnold, the infamous Revolutionary War general-turned-traitor, was born in Norwich.
Society Treasurer Sonya Mis said the group’s financial side is doing very well with more than $150,000 in various grants brought in last year. The society on Sunday also heard a presentation by independent historian Damien Cregeau on spies and spy trade-craft during the Revolutionary War.