Events

The Bedford Historical Society is proud to present a free lecture series as well as other events and activities throughout the year.


All programs and events are subject to change due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bedford Historical Society will be following guidelines as released by the Bedford Board of Health and CDC. We will inform everyone via Social Media and Constant Contact in the event of changes to programs and events or cancelations.

We will also keep everyone updated regarding regulations and recommendations.

Upcoming Programs:


September Program:
“Tales of Old Billerica Road” lecture and Bedford High School history students honored
Sunday, September 25, 2022
2 PM – Announcements and program
Old Town Hall – Great Room (3rd floor)

Two exciting topics will be presented at the Bedford Historical Society’s Sept. 25th meeting in The Great Hall of Old Town Hall, 16 South Road, Bedford.

Past Society President Don Corey will describe the interesting people and sites on an ancient Native American trail in his talk, Tales of Old Billerica Road.  He will describe the changes that led the Llewsac Lodge to become Carelton-Willard Village.  In addition, the Society will honor four Bedford High School seniors who won first place at the 2022 National History Day Massachusetts State Competition last April.

The event is free and open to the public.


October Lecture:
The Haunted History of New England
Sunday, October 23, 2022
2 PM – Announcements and Guest Speaker
Old Town Hall – Great Room (3rd floor)

History teacher, author, and lecturer Christopher Daley, a frequent guest speaker at the Bedford Historical Society, returns with his talk, The Haunted History of New England. In this presentation, Daley melds historical fact together with legend and myth to produce an interesting, fascinating, and sometimes shocking new look at events that really happened and the stories of haunting that followed them.

The topics addressed in the lecture will be Mercy Brown, “The Vampire” of Exeter, Rhode Island, the cursed Freetown State Forest in Massachusetts, the horrors of the Lizzie Borden House in Fall River Massachusetts, a haunted forest in the wilds of Connecticut, the ghostly happenings at Mount Washington Hotel in New Hampshire, and evidence of ghosts at the John Alden House in Duxbury Massachusetts.

The event is free and open to the public.


December Event:
Holiday Party for Historical Society members and guests
Sunday, December 11, 2022
3-6 PM
Old Town Hall – Great Room (3rd floor)

Check back here for more details or sign up for our email newsletter to keep up-to-date on all the latest Society news!


February Lecture:
The History of New England’s Stone Walls
Sunday, February 26, 2023
2 PM – Announcements and Guest Speaker
Old Town Hall – Great Room (3rd floor)

University of Connecticut geologist and author Robert Thorson will join the Society and its co-sponsor, the Bedford Garden Club, and the public in the video streaming presentation on The History of New England’s Stone Walls. He will examine several images of these special Northeast treasurers and show what local “wall-watchers” might see that “bird-watchers” might not.

The event is free and open to the public.


March Lecture:
Timekeeping and Timekeepers in Early New England
Sunday, March 19, 2023
2 PM – Announcements and Guest Speaker
Old Town Hall – Great Room (3rd floor)

Horology, the science of timekeeping, is the fascination of Robert Frishman, who will conduct an Antiques Roadshow-style informal appraisal of attendees’ clocks and watches at the end of his lecture Timekeeping and Timekeepers in Early New England. He will weave into his talk information about the grandfather clock on loan to the Society (in a corner of The Great Room), and other antique timepieces in the Society’s collections.

The event is free and open to the public.


April Lecture:
Molasses: From the Slave Trade to the Great Molasses Flood
Sunday, April 30, 2023
2 PM – Announcements and Guest Speaker
Old Town Hall – Great Room (3rd floor)

Noted historian and author Anthony Sammarco will trace the influence of molasses in the “Triangle Trade,” the 18th-century world economy involving rum, slaves, and sugar cane, and its important connection to Massachusetts.  Sammarco, who has written 70 books, will be remembered for his crowd-pleasing presentation a couple of years ago: “The Baker Chocolate Company.”

The event is free and open to the public.


May Program:
The Society’s Annual Meeting, the election of Officers and Directors, and “Cast of (Nineteenth Century Historical) Characters
Sunday, May 21, 2023
2 PM – Announcements, Annual Meeting, and guest speaker
Old Town Hall – Great Room (3rd floor)

Popular Bedford resident and charming Town Historian Sharon McDonald will be the Society’s Annual Meeting guest speaker, talking once again about another set of ancient and interesting Bedford residents, as she had done in past lecture seasons. This time, her Cast of (Nineteenth Century Historical) Characters will include abolitionist and suffragist Lucinda Hosmer, anti-vaccination doctor Emmanuel Pfeiffer, and notorious Benjamin Simonds, who left Bedford with the law on his heels.  This talk will follow the Society’s Annual Meeting and election of Officers and Directors. 

The lecture is free and open to the public.


Please check back for updates on future programs



Past Events

Annual Meeting and Lecture
Sunday, May 22, 2022
Old Town Hall – Great Room

The Society will hold its Annual Meeting and election of Officers and Directors followed by the video presentation The Society’s Collections Years Ago in the Former Museum narrated by Mary Hafer.

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Lecture: The Dramatic Growth of Bedford
Sunday, April 24, 2022
2 PM
Old Town Hall – Great Room

Society President Tom Kinzer and well-known local author Ashley Rooney will recall some of Bedford’s history with its dramatic growth during the building of Routes 128 and 3.

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Lecture: New England General Stores
Sunday, March 27, 2022
2 PM
Old Town Hall – Great Room

Ted Reinstein will return with his program New England General Stores, a steadfast institution of New England towns – even in tough times.

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Outdoor Lecture and Tour
Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021
Old Burying Ground, Springs Road

Just in time for Halloween, the Bedford Historical Society is excited to welcome Lee Yates as she presents an informative Discussion and Tour of the Old Burying Ground on Springs Road.

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Virtual Lecture: Wicked Pissed: New England’s Most Famous Feuds
Sunday, April 25, 2021
2 PM
Virtual lecture over Zoom

Ted Reinstein, the popular journalist and reporter for Chronicle, Boston’s celebrated TV news magazine, has found the offbeat, the unique, the moving, and the memorable in his reporting travels.

He will recount some of those stories from his book of the same title, Wicked Pissed: New England’s Most Famous Feuds.

From sports to politics, food to finance, to bitter disputes over simple boundaries themselves, New England’s feuds have peppered the region’s life for centuries. They’ve been raw and rowdy, sometimes high-minded and humorous, and in a place renowned for its deep sense of history, often long

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Virtual Lecture: Onslaught: The Wessagusset Incident
Sunday, March 21, 2021
2 PM
Virtual lecture over Zoom

History teacher, author, and lecturer Christopher Daley presents The Wessagusset Incident – the murder in 1623 of Massachusetts tribal leaders by Pilgrims.

This presentation chronicles the arrival of the pilgrims at Plymouth and the beginnings of their colony as well as the little-known arrival of “Weston’s Men” a group that began a colony in what is now the town of Weymouth, then known as Wessagusset.  The talk will examine the interaction with the natives by the two English groups and look at the factors that led to the bloodletting of 1623 and then a blow-by-blow description of the attack at Wessagusset, followed by a discussion on the far-reaching aftereffects.

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Virtual Lecture:
Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021
2 PM
Virtual lecture over Zoom

Town Historian and author Sharon McDonald has been researching a number of 18th and 19th Century historical Bedford residents for her virtual talk A Cast of (Historic) Characters. Ms. McDonald’s presentations are popular among Society members and the public at large, who have filled the venues to overflowing in past years. Curator of the Job Lane Farm Museum, she is always entertaining and precise with her facts.

Click here to view A Cast of (Historic) Characters on the Bedford Historical Society’s YouTube channel.

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Virtual Lecture: Votes for Women: MA Leaders in the Women’s Suffrage Movement
Sunday, October 25, 2020
2 PM
Virtual presentation

Author Barbara Berenson will present a virtual power point program, Votes for Women: MA
Leaders in the Women’s Suffrage Movement
. She will tell the story of the national suffrage movement
and the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution from the perspective of early
Massachusetts suffragettes. This program is co-sponsored by the Bedford League of Women Voters.

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Virtual Program: National History Day award-winning High School Student Projects
& The 1918 Flu Epidemic
Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020
7:15 PM
Virtual program over Zoom

The first half of this virtual Historical Society program will feature presentations by four Bedford High School students who produced three award-winning National History Day projects. The students will all receive awards from the Society.

The second half of the Sept. 23 program will feature a YouTube video about the 1918 Flu Pandemic, with a follow-up discussion with a representative from the Bedford Board of Health. They will discuss similarities and differences between the 1918 pandemic and the current coronavirus pandemic.

Click here to view the program on the Bedford Historical Society’s YouTube channel.

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Lecture: The Baker Chocolate Company: A Sweet History
Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020
2 PM
First Church of Christ, Congregational, Upper Fellowship Hall

Local historian Anthony Sammarco details the delicious saga of Massachusetts’ Baker Chocolate Company in his presentation, The Baker Chocolate Company: A Sweet History From John Hannon’s mysterious disappearance and the famed La Belle Chocolatiere advertising campaign to cacao bean smuggling sparked by Revolutionary War blockades, this tale, both bitter and sweet, is sure to tickle your taste buds.

Click here to view The Baker Chocolate Company: A Sweet History on the Bedford Historical Society’s YouTube channel.

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Lecture: Muskets to Tomahawks: The Battles for Saratoga
Sunday, November 10, 2019
2 PM – Announcements & Program

Learn about some of the elements that lead to the American victories at Saratoga and turned the tide of the American Revolution. US Navy Captain Robert Lewis, (Ret) is our speaker. He brings experience from a long career in the military and extensive investigation of the Gettysburg battles.

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Video: Bedford Windshield: A Quick and Easy Guide to Architecture in a New England Village
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
7:15 PM – Refreshments; 7:45 – Announcements & Program
Congregational Church, 25 Great Road, Bedford

The Historical Society will be hosting a showing of Bedford Windshield: A Quick and Easy Guide to Architecture in a New England Village, a 1993 documentary produced in by the Bedford Historical Society. 

Click here to view Bedford Windshield: A Quick and Easy Guide to Architecture in a New England Village on the Bedford Historical Society’s YouTube channel.

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Memorial Day
Monday, May 27, 2019
8:30 am – 12:00 pm
Various town locations

The Bedford Historical Society will participate in various Memorial Day activities planned by Bedford’s Patriot Holiday Committee. To view the full schedule of events, click here. The Society will be at the events highlighted in yellow.

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Lecture, Potluck Dinner, and Annual Meeting
Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride: The Myth and the Man
Sunday, May 19, 2019
6 pm – Appetizers and Potluck Dinner, 7:30 pm – Annual Meeting, 7:45 pm – President’s Year-End Report and Guest Speaker
First Church of Christ, Congregational – Upper Fellowship Hall

How did Boston silversmith Paul Revere end up riding to alert the countryside that “the British are coming” in April 1775? To find out, join us for this lecture by Frank Rigg, retired John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum Curator, who talks about the impact and legacy of Paul Revere’s historic ride.

Mr. Rigg’s presentation will conclude the Bedford Historical Society’s final event of the season: the May potluck dinner and the Society’s Annual Meeting to elect officers and directors. Every family is asked to bring a main dish, side dish, salad, or dessert to feed eight. The Society will provide beverages.

Click here to view “Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride” on Bedford TV’s Youtube channel.

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Lecture: Irish Need Not Apply: The History of the Irish in Boston
Sunday, April 28, 2019
2 pm – Refreshments, 2:30 pm – Announcements & Guest Speaker
Old Town Hall – Great Room

The Bedford Historical Society welcomes back history teacher, author and lecturer Chris Daley with his latest presentation, Irish Need Not Apply: The History of the Irish in Boston. This lecture examines many facets of the early Irish experience in Boston from the 17th century to the 19th century.

Click here to view “Irish Need Not Apply” on Bedford TV’s Youtube channel.

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Lecture: Survival: Boston 1630
Sunday, March 24, 2019
2 pm – Refreshments, 2:30 pm – Announcements & Guest Speaker
First Church of Christ, Congregational – Upper Fellowship Hall

John Morrison, Trustee of the Partnership of Historic Bostons (PHB), will present an illustrated talk about the first dangerous years when nearly one-half of the original Puritans died or fled back to England. How did they survive in the place that became the City of Boston?

Click here to view “Survival: Boston 1630” on Bedford TV’s Youtube channel.

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Lecture: Slavery in Bedford: Did the Underground Railroad Stop Here?
Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019
2 pm – Refreshments, 2:30 pm – Announcements & Guest Speaker
Old Town Hall – Great Room

Town Historian Sharon McDonald has been researching the history of slavery in Bedford. It stunned her to find that there were enslaved men, women, and children of color living here in Bedford’s early days! Join us for this illuminating lecture.

Click here to view “Slavery in Bedford” on Bedford TV’s YouTube channel.

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Lecture: My Deployment to Afghanistan with a Provincial Reconstruction Team
Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 – Veterans Day
3:30 pm – Refreshments, 4 pm – Announcements & Guest Speaker
Old Town Hall – Great Room

The Society is honored to host, at a special Veterans Day program, Gina Rada, District Director of Veterans Services for Lexington and Bedford. She will describe the year she spent in Afghanistan as a member of a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT).

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A Tour of the Job Lane House and Gardens
Sunday, October 14, 2018
2 pm – 4 pm
Job Lane House – 295 North Road, Bedford

Come and tour one of Bedford’s oldest historical homes, the Job Lane House at 295 North Road in Bedford. Enjoy refreshments supplied by the Bedford Historical Society while members of the Friends of the Job Lane House, dressed in colonial attire, will be situated in each room of the beautifully restored house to bring Job and his house alive.

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National History Day Students Awards & “What’s in Bedford’s Attic”
Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018
7:15 pm – Refreshments, 7:45 pm – Announcements & Program
First Church of Christ, Congregational – Upper Fellowship Hall

The first meeting of the Bedford Historical Society’s 2018-2019 Program Series will feature two topics. Bedford High School students who competed in National History Day will describe their projects and be given awards.
Following the awards, the second part of the program is a timely reminder of the Society’s ongoing efforts to re-establish a town museum for the display of historic resources from the Society’s collections. The program, “What’s in Bedford’s Attic”, will feature a display of various artifacts from the society’s museum collections ranging from the end of the Ice Age up to the 20th Century by Society President Don Corey.