Chapel Hill Historical Society

Preserving the history of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and neighboring
communities in Orange County, for future generations.

The Chapel Hill Historical Society was founded in 1966 to research and document the history of Chapel Hill and the surrounding communities, to encourage and assist in the study of local history, and to provide public programs and publications related to the heritage and traditions of the area.

Help support our mission: Join or Renew Your Membership Today!

History of Hope Part 2 Exhibit Now Open!
Our new exhibit, A History of Hope, Part 2, Chapel Hill and UNC, 1930 – 1980, is open and ready for you at the Orange County Historical Museum!  

Part 1 covered the very beginnings of Chapel Hill, the University, and our people from pre-1793 – 1928. Part 2 continues the story by exploring people and events that defined the decades from the 1930s through the 1970s in words, photos, videos and music. Some of the highlights of the exhibit include a World War II WAVES uniform, timeline of the Civil Rights Movement in Chapel Hill, and the number 1 hit song of 1974.

What’s New

SAVE the DATE – 2023 Winter/Spring Programs

Programs are free and open to the public. NOTE: The Hearts Torn Asunder Program has been rescheduled to March 5

January 26 at 5:30pm – “Everything You Should Have Learned in High School About the Articles of Confederation” – Program by Courtney Smith, Orange County Historical Museum: This program will be held at the Chapel Hill Public Library.

The following programs are scheduled for Sundays at 3pm at the Chapel Hill Public Library:
January 29 – James Cates Scholars Presentation – These local young people are dedicated to exploring and understanding history on local, national and international levels. They will share why understanding local history is important to them and will talk about what they have learned about historical curation, documentation and archival work through the lens of young activists and scholars. They will also share their work with the James Cates archives, working on national Civil Rights curriculum and connecting history with K-12 education. 
March 5Hearts Torn Asunder – Ernest Dollar will discuss his latest book, “Hearts Torn Asunder: Trauma in the Civil War’s Final Campaign in NC,” that explores the psychological experience of soldiers and civilians during the chaotic closing weeks of the war that ended with the surrender at nearby Bennett Place in Durham. Their letters, diaries, and accounts reveal just how deeply the killing, suffering, and loss had hurt and impacted these people by the spring of 1865. Mr. Dollar is a North Carolina native. He has BFA in Design and BA in History from UNC-G and MA in Public History from NC State. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the City of Raleigh Museum.
March 19 – WCHL – Celebrating 70 Years of Broadcasting – Aaron Keck, award-winning radio journalist and host of “This Morning with Aaron Keck,” will discuss WCHL’s history and contributions to the community as it celebrates its 70th anniversary. Aaron has been a strong supporter of the Historical Society and our programs.
April 23rd – History of the Carrboro Farmers’ Market – Maggie Funkhouser, manager of the Carrboro Farmers Market, will discuss the history of this beloved, farmer-run local institution, now in its 45th year of operation.
May 21
Click these links for YouTube recordings of 2020, 2021 programs and 2022 programs

Access to Collections and References

Our collections and reference materials are housed in the Community History Lab room at the Chapel Hill Public Library and are accessible for reading when the Lab is open and properly staffed. Materials are not allowed to be removed or used without supervision. If you would like our assistance with a research request or need access or help with materials, please email us at chhistoricalsociety@gmail.com.

Support Us

Join the Historical Society today or buy our books!
Find out more about supporting us here.


Business Office
109 N. Graham St., Suite 104
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Collections & Reference Materials
100 Library Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Contact Us

Chapel Hill Historical Society
P.O. Box 9032
Chapel Hill, NC 27515