Windham County Jail Building

As the Society approaches its Centennial celebration, it has accumulated such an extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, records and manuscripts, it faces the problem of having long outgrown its current exhibit space in the 1936 County Museum building.  Additionally, the 1936 Museum building lacks access to persons with disabilities due to the structural and space limitations of the brick structure. 

When the County Sheriff’s Department moved its offices from Newfane to Brattleboro last year, the 1825 County Jail building was left vacant for the first time in close to 200 years. Deed restrictions, dating back to 1824 when the land was donated to the County, prohibit any commercial use on the property, and a court ruling in 1971 reinforced “that the uses to be made of the said jail building shall benefit the inhabitants of Windham County.”  The Historical Society of Windham selectively fulfilled those requirements, and will now be the occupant of the historic building. Repurposing the former Windham County Jail building to the main County Museum resolves all the space limitations the Society has faced for decades.

With its expansion into the historic County Jail building, the Historical Society is set on a course which will be as key to advancing its mission into the future as the decision of its founders was when they built our current museum in 1936.

Renovation of the interior space is in full swing and the restoration of the historic jail quarters has been completed. There is more work to do as we repurpose this 1825 building into County History Museum. Please consider donating to this major project and stay tuned for announcements about the building’s grand opening!