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Current Exhibits
Complimentary printed guides for each exhibit.

The Nickwackett Fire House

The Nickwackett Fire House was built in 1860 as a Fire House and remained so until it became the home of the Rutland Historical Society in 1993 after a major renovation of the building. The exhibit includes a pictorial notebook which visually documents the before and after in the reconstruction of the building. A small exhibit case shows pictures and artifacts of the late 19th Century fire fighters who occupied the building.

Eight Generations of Rutland's History

The exhibit "Eight Generations of Rutland's History" is a visual sampling of (a) "18th Century Rutland (1770-1800)", (b) "The Quiet Years (1801-1830)", (c) "Marble and Railroads (1831-1860)", (d) "Civil War and Industry (1861-1892)", (e) "Urbanization (1893-1920)", (f) "Twenties, Depression and World War II (1921-1950)", (g) "Post-war and Post-railroad Rutland (1951-1980)", and (h) "Rutland Revitalized (1981-2010)".

Civil War Exhibit

The Civil War exhibit consists of a number of artifacts from the war and from Rutland during the period 1861 - 1863. Also included are numerous pictures with explanatory text, many of them quotes from participants and news media (mainly the Rutland Herald). The exhibit portrays the experience of the Civil War from the diverse perspectives of the Rutland men who fought, and also the citizens of Rutland who supported the troops while maintaining daily life throughout.


The Rutland Historical Society is not a county society but services the area of the "old" Town of Rutland which today includes the City of Rutland and the towns of Proctor, Rutland, and West Rutland. Its collections focus on these towns. The majority of the Society's collections are located on the second floor of the historical society building. Upon request materials are available for use on the main floor (handicapped accessible) where a guide to the collections may be found. A guide to the collections is also available on the website in the form of Finding Aids. The Society's holdings include over 1,000 books, over 350 boxes of documents, numerous maps, and over 2,000 photographic images. The Society’s volunteers have created a digital image library. Click here to view the first online gallery. The Society has a modest collection of artifacts including textiles. See the image gallery of selected items from the textile collection. There are nearly 300 bound volumes of Rutland newspapers. Fortunately these have all been microfilmed and microfilm copies are available at the Rutland Free Library.

The Society library includes Smith and Rann's History of Rutland County (1886), Hemenway's multi-volume Vermont Gazetteer with index, Child's Rutland County Gazetteer and Directory (1881), Rutland Town and City Annual Reports and reports from the Village of Rutland and the Towns of Proctor and West Rutland. Published tax assessments for the City of Rutland are also available.


To preserve the originals and improve the public’s accessibility to information, the Society has undertaken a major effort to digitize these holdings and place them on the Society website.  Those available in digitized format are Town of Rutland Selectmen’s Reports (1857-1894), Village of Rutland Reports (1868-1892), and Town of West Rutland Reports (1888-1999).


The collections include the Beer's Atlas Map of 1869 which shows the locations of homes and the names of the occupants, the Scott's Map of 1854 which offers similar information, a map of Socialboro [a New York Grant that included Rutland] from 1771 and the Plan of Rutland [New Hampshire Grants] probably done in 1794. The Sanborn Insurance maps of Rutland give the size and material of buildings as well as their location. Used in conjunction with a directory, these can be very informative about a building and its occupants. An 1890 and a 1925 map are available. The 1884 Beers map has been digitized and is offered for sale.  A select sample of the map is available for viewing through this link.


Research on any historical topic needs to answer the question of "who?". The sources for information about people are numerous. One of the easiest and quickest to use, particularly if you have an approximate date, is the city directory. The Society has a collection of Rutland directories from 1867 to 1986. It also has a collection of Rutland telephone books from 1959 to the present.  Except for one year, the directories through 1930 have been digitized and are available for viewing and search online.   The Rutland Free Library has Federal Census records from 1791 to 1930 on microfilm. The Society has cemetery inscription books published by Margaret Jenks for all the towns of Rutland County. The Rutland City Public School attendance records provide teacher and student names for all classes of all the public schools from 1899 to 1963. The high school yearbook collection is also a great source of "people" information. There are Rutland Grand List property tax records year by year from 1815 to 1870 which are on microfilm at the Rutland Free Library. These are easier to use than the census records because they are in alphabetical order. Early Families of Rutland, compiled by Marvel G. Swan and Donald P. Swan, is particularly useful for researching people before 1850.  This book is out of print, but has been digitized and is available for sale. 

The Society's collections include the Rutland Municipal Court Records from the 1870's-1960's, genealogical files of Marvel Swan, photocopies of the Evergreen Cemetery records, numerous account books and ledgers, a collection of Rutland trainmen's notebooks, some hotel registers and numerous scrapbooks and photo albums. There are minutes books of some Rutland organizations and diaries and collections of letters. There are a number of books providing military rosters for various wars. The Society's periodical collection includes The Vermonter, Vermont Life and Vermont History.

The Society library is not a circulating library but there are copy and scanning facilities available.  Copies and prints are $.15 copy/page. Scans are free, but you would need to bring your own flash drive or CD.  Photographs may also be scanned or copied.


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