Franklin Historical Society-- Franklin, New Hampshire


From The President

The life’s blood of any non-profit organization is its volunteers. With no paid, full or even part time employees, the sometimes menial but essential jobs must be done by those dedicated and selfless individuals who believe in the Society, not just with their hearts, but with their hands. When the call goes out for help, be it to weed, prune, and beautify the gardens surrounding the building, or to be a docent during an “Open Hours” day at the museum, or help out at the annual plant sale, too often the same faces appear. Granted, the dues everyone pays is a help, so everyone in that regard is aiding the sustainability of the organization, but more is needed, and always will be. 

As president, I try to lead by example. I would never ask anyone to do something I myself would not be willing to undertake, and I would never ask a member to volunteer for a task beyond their capabilities. But even the smallest gesture is greatly appreciated. Sitting at the Society table on Community Day is actually fun. Interacting with passersby, answering questions  from those curious about the history of Franklin, or sharing memories with long-time residents, is certainly within my definition of an enjoyable time. The same experience can be duplicated at the Webster/Tay during open hours. The light in a visitor’s face when shown a “one-off” document like the voter’s roll from the very first Franklin town meeting in 1829, or being able to read a letter handwritten by Daniel Webster, or the expression of reverence when viewing the WWI tank corps uniform of Maurice Gilchrist, is payment in itself for a docent’s efforts. 

As we move into and through the 2019 season, I hope that more will step forward to partake in the pleasures of volunteering and enjoy the satisfaction derived from performing a selfless act. Standing back from a well manicured garden and being able to say, “I did that”, or teaching a child a fact about Franklin they might never have heard otherwise, warms the soul.

The Society is hoping to accommodate a field trip to Webster Place by the Franklin 4thgraders, in addition to the talk on the traces of history left behind in Franklin by Daniel Webster, which is given at the school every Fall. If this event comes to pass, perhaps not this year, but in the very near future, hands will be needed to guide these malleable minds around the grounds and through the museum. I can guarantee, along perhaps with challenging, the effort will be rewarding. 

The Society has for many years now, been considered by Ben Wilson of the NH Bureau of Historic Sites, a “Friends Group” to the Daniel Webster Birthplace State Park. I check the buildings for vandalism on a regular basis, Jack Tobey is a seasonal employee and works there on weekends from Memorial Day to Columbus Day, and his wife Bette re-glazed all the windows in the cabin not so long ago. The Society still maintains a plethora of reproduction items in the birthplace cabin to enhance the visitor experience, and Jack has access to a considerable cache of material (to which more is added every year) provided by the Society to regale even the most knowledgeable tourist with fascinating facts about the property.

The Franklin Firefighters Museum may also provide an opportunity to volunteer, and learn, as the Society is in talks with the Firefighters Association to take a more active role in preserving this institution worth saving and expanding. 

The chances to participate are there. There is no better time to volunteer than now, and once the taste of giving is experienced, it can be habit forming...

I hope, at the very least, members might show an interest in learning about the Birthplace, the Society’s museum, and the Firefighters Museum, if our role in its maintenance is expanded. 

This is a great city, with new things to learn every day and pass on to the next generation. After all, isn’t that the core mission of the Society?

Leigh A. Webb
May, 2019

Membership in the Franklin Historical Society is open to all. 

Annual dues help us achieve our goals of Preserving the History of Franklin and Supporting the Society’s Webster/Tay House Meeting Place and Museum. The Society depends on your dues, as well as contributions and fund-raising activities to meet these goals.

Currently, our membership roster includes over 120 individuals and businesses.

The Society offers a range of annual memberships options: 
Individual Membership - ($20 Annually)
Family Membership - ($40 Annually)
Business or Professional Membership - ($60 Annually)
Student membership – ($2 Annually)
Individual Life Membership - ($250 One Time Payment)
Couple Life Membership - ($450 One Time Payment)

Becoming a member is easy.

Click here to view and print the Society's Membership Form. Complete and mail the form, along with your check payable, to:

Franklin Historical Society
P.O. Box 43
Franklin, New Hampshire 03235

Have questions about becoming a member? Send us a message through our Contact Us form on our Home Page.