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!

What’s New

Reading Room Open by Appointment at Midway Center

We are excited about our new reading room located at the Midway Center and the many community members who have come by to use our collections. The room houses many of our most used reference books, photos and vertical files. Currently, the room is open via appointment. Please email us at chhistoricalsociety@gmail.com or call and leave a message at our business office at 919-929-1793 to arrange an appointment.

Pop-Up Exhibit at Seymour Center

If you missed our History of Hope Part II Exhibit at the Orange County Historical Museum, you can see selected items from the exhibit in our pop-up display at the Seymour Center.

The Business of Franklin Street Exhibit
Now Open

Serving as the front door to the University of North Carolina since its beginnings, Franklin Street is legendary for gamedays & celebrations, to work, worship, eat, stroll, protest, parade, and party. 
Join us in a walk through the past, down Franklin Street in 1977, almost 50 years ago. Stroll by an authentic streetscape, created from storefront photos taken at the time by the Chapel Hill Historical Society. This exhibit aims to spark memories, engage & connect you to our local history and bring understanding and appreciation of the shared treasure that is Franklin Street. 

Current Newsletter – Here’s our latest newsletter: Spring 2024
Here’s our annual report: 2024 Annual Report

Recent Programs

April 13 – “In Search of the Missing Steeple: Uncovering Chapel Hill’s Antebellum Past.” Presented by Gordon Johnson. Learn how an amateur historian discovered 1850s Chapel Hill during a two-year search for the church steeple that was supposed to be there, but wasn’t. YouTube recording available here: https://youtu.be/kGvSCGGhzj4

March 9: “Orange County Cotton Mills & Generations of Families,” presented by Sarah Carrier. YouTube recording available here: https://youtu.be/85knfjioQLU.

See our Past Programs page for descriptions and recordings of other past programs : Past Programs.

Access to Collections and Reference Materials

Our most used reference books, photos, vertical files and records are now housed in our small reading room at the Midway Center where they are available for research via appointment. Other materials, including our newspaper collection, remain in remote storage but can be made available for specific research requests. If you would like access to any of our research materials, please email us at chhistoricalsociety@gmail.com or call and leave a message at our business office at 919-929-1793 to arrange an appointment.

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
Collections & Reference Materials:
109 N. Graham St. , Suite 102

Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Contact Us

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