The Chapel Hill Historical Society, located on the ground floor of the library, brings periodic talks and presentations about past places, events, and cultural milestones that make up our town’s unique character.

  • Jones Ferry: A Road to the Past
    September 18, 2016
    3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
    - We’ve all been on Jones Ferry Road, but we probably know nothing about Jones Ferry. Why were the road and the ferry there? Join us as we explore why and how the road came about with a talk by Richard Ellington. Meeting Room B. Click here for more details.
  • Coker Hills
    October 16, 2016
    7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
    - Jill Ridky-Blackburn presents the past of the neighborhood where the library itself is situated. Meeting Room B.
  • Brent Glass
    October 20, 2016
    7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
    - The public historian who pioneered influential oral history and material culture studies and was Elizabeth MacMillan Director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History from 2002-2011 returns to Chapel Hill. At Flyleaf Books.
  • Impact of Slavery on Education
    January 21, 2017
    11:00 am - 12:00 pm
    - Former leaders and officers will relate how the Society changed, grew, prospered or struggled during their time in office. What important events occurred during that time? How has the Society helped the community understand local history? After the discussion, join us for a festive reception and displays of historic materials.

    Learn more here. Meeting Room B.
  • 50th Anniversary Celebration
    January 22, 2017
    3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
    - Former leaders and officers will relate how the Society changed, grew, prospered or struggled during their time in office. What important events occurred during that time? How has the Society helped the community understand local history? After the discussion, join us for a festive reception and displays of historic materials.

    Learn more here. Meeting Room B.
  • Four Chapel Hill Writers
    April 23, 2017
    2:30 pm - 5:00 pm
    - Dr. Patrick Horn and Dr. Valerie Yow present the stories of four local authors - George Moses Horton, Caroline Lee Hentz, Paul Green, and Betty Smith - whose work influenced each other in unexpected ways. The speakers will present the words of these four writers and the ways they helped other writers and people who were fighting injustice.

    Learn more here. Meeting Room B.
  • African-American Families Remembered
    February 19, 2017
    2:30 pm - 5:00 pm
    - Kim Smith re-introduces remarkable members of the largely forgotten Smith, Fitzgerald, Morphis, Kirby, and Toole families through the Reverend Dr. Pauli Murray’s memoir Proud Shoes: The Story of an American Family Their captivating narratives reveal how freed African-American families lived in post-Civil War North Carolina.

    Learn more here. Meeting Room B.
  • Town Treasures
    October 15, 2017
    3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    - Join us in recognizing individuals and couples for their contributions to the Towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro over the years. Learn more here. Meeting Room B.
  • Time of Death
    November 19, 2017
    3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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    The true tale of a quest for justice in 1960s Chapel Hill, a presentation by Nora Gaskin.

    Time of Death explores an unsolved murder in Chapel Hill. Lucille Rinaldi was found dead in an apartment on North Street in 1963. Her husband Frank was charged and tried in the case. In this talk, Gaskins examines the impact the crime had on the town, as well as the people intimately involved. It looks at the cultural and social factors that contributed to this search for justice.

    Nora Gaskin grew up in Chapel Hill in the 1950s and ‘60s, went to Carolina, and has lived mostly in Durham and Chapel Hill. After a career as a financial planner and stock broker, she returned to her first love, story-telling. She published a novel, Until Proven, inspired by the events she wrote about in Time of Death. Nora’s next novel, The Worst Thing, will appear in early 2018.

We frequently take photos and videos at our events. Here's what we do with them.