The Thetford Historical Society was founded in 1943 by a group of local people interested in local history. Among these were Rev. William and Mary B. Slade, who spent many years delving into family and institutional records of the area; Charles and Fannie Hughes, who were fascinated by local artifacts and crafts and processes; Richard J. Fowle, a zealous guardian of local institutions, and Emma Coombs, teacher, librarian, moving spirit of the local Grange.
At first, the Society simply had summer meetings. By the late 1940s, the Hugheses had collected enough tools and artifacts for an exhibit in a local barn. Other activities included trips, such as a 1947 jaunt to the Vermont Country Store in Weston, left.
In 1950, the collection was formally called a museum, and exhibits became yearly. In 1961, the Society took part in celebrating the bicentennial of the Town’s charter. One offering was an historical map by Charles Latham with the help of Kenneth Cook. Two years later, Emma Coombs' bequest of her barn gave the collection a permanent home.
In the late 1960s, the Society's board began working toward a library building to hold records and books collected by several members. Latham Memorial Library, (original building burned in 1942), made this a joint project. A library federation was formed, building plans were drafted, and a new building, financed by federal funds and private donations, became Thetford's bicentennial project. The building opened in 1975, giving the Society’s library a free home. Opening of the Thetford Bicentennial Building, held August 14, 1976. Then Governor Deane C. Davis is at the podium.
In the past 30 years, the Society has published several books on local history, and in the past two decades additions have been made to the Barn Museum: three stalls from the Thetford Center Horsesheds, and two other buildings, one for exhibits and one for storage.