Sharon Historical Society & Museum
The Sharon Historical Society has an institutional history similar to many small historical societies. Founded in 1911, the Society spent the first forty-odd years of its life meeting, usually monthly, to listen to a semi-scholarly paper on some aspect of Sharon history, presented by a member. An entirely volunteer-run organization with no building of its own, it used the second floor local history room at the town library as headquarters. Books, papers and some archival material were stored at the library, while other collections objects resided in the homes of members. In 1951, the SHS was bequeathed the home of past president, Miss Anne Sherman Hoyt. Unable to assume financial responsibility for the entire building, the SHS rented out the first floor of what became known as the "Gay-Hoyt House" to the thrift shop associated with the Sharon Hospital. The SHS used the second floor of the house for collections storage and meeting space.
Early in 1999, based on the museum's heightened public profile, the success of several large fund raising events and a growth in membership, Board and staff began to take a serious look at the museum's physical plant. Located in a brick house, built in 1775, with a tiny, "piece meal" addition, no climate control, no handicapped access, and little multi-purpose space, the feasibility of renovation and expansion was addressed. The museum's public profile was examined. The results were positive. A building campaign was begun, an architect selected, and plans were drawn. The ceremonial groundbreaking was a gala fund raising event itself, taking place in early July 2001. The $670,000 building project was completed in December 2002. All debt associated with the project was paid by December 2003.