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The Peterborough Historical Society building, circa 1930, is now to be called the Monadnock Center for History and Culture. (Courtesy)

Peterborough Historical Society changes name, adds some culture

PETERBOROUGH - The Peterborough Historical Society announced this week that it is now the Monadnock Center for History and Culture.

"It is a really exciting time," said Gordon Peery, president of the Peterborough Historical Society's Board.

The name change reflects the direction the organization has been heading in over the past 10 years, executive director Michelle Stahl said.

"I think the shift in the regional focus and with the cultural focus has really been addressing what people are interested in," she said. "We really want to break down the barrier for the people participating in the programing that we're offering."

Several board members live outside of Peterborough and about 15 to 20 percent of the Society's membership is from out of town, Stahl said.

The new regional name is not a play to increase membership, though that would be nice, she said.

"Certainly we would love to have more memberships, but really this is about having the center really be a place where people can come together." Also, for some the moniker "Historical Society" has an old-fashioned, stuffy connotation that the 110-year-old organization wants dispel, she said.

The new name lets the public know it is a cultural center that offers lectures and educational and musical series such as Music in Bass Hall and The Folkway Remembered.

Last year, the center also held a New Hampshire Glassmakers and Monadnock Quilt exhibits, both of which were popular and well-attended, she said.

"It's one thing to preserve artifacts and papers, but it has to serve the community too and there are a lot of ways that we can do that," Stahl said. "I think it's going to make it easier for the community to connect and say, 'Oh yeah this is something for me too.'"

The center, though, does plan to retain its legal title of Peterborough Historical Society and continue archiving Peterborough artifacts and presenting Peterborough historical exhibits.

The center is currently running an exhibit of historic town photography called Peterborough in Pictures.

But the center is hoping to use its new regional name to invite other area historical society's to participate in regional history exhibits.

A new regional exhibit "Monadnock Treasures" is already being planned with other area societies, she said.

Former president of the board, Dorothy Peterson she is also excited about the future of the organization.

"The plans do sound very interesting and exciting. I have encouraged them to go ahead, but I am anxious to hear more about," Peterson said. "I'm looking forward to going to a meeting and learning more.


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