Needham History Center & Museum

Films & Documentaries

The Needham History Center and the Needham Channel have partnered for several films and documentaries. These films are available for free streaming on the Needham Channel’s website. 

In the 1860s, William Emerson Baker retired from his sewing machine business with a vast fortune and purchased nearly 800 acres in Needham – the famous Ridge Hill Farms. Widely regarded as America’s first amusement park, Ridge Hill Farms embodied Baker’s extraordinary passion for social and economic reform, experimental agriculture, bad puns and practical jokes.

A film by Derick Risner. Narrated by Gary Gillis. A Co-Production of the Needham History Center & Museum and The Needham Channel. 
(2016. Runtime: 1 hour, 7 minutes)

On February 2, 1934, three men robbed The Needham Trust Company and killed two Needham police officers. This was the first and only time Needham officers were killed in the line of duty, and also the first machine gun murder in Massachusetts history.  The robbery is well-remembered in town lore, but the story of the robbers is all but forgotten. 


A Film by Derick Risner. Presented by the Needham Channel and the Needham History Center & Museum. 
(2013. Runtime: 1 hour, 28 minutes)

There are some big stories in this little town! Before there was a United States, there was a NEEDHAM. This small town transformed itself, over 300 years, from a sleepy farming village, to a thriving mill center, to an ethnic melting pot, to an industrial showplace, to an affluent suburb. It is the story of America – told with humor, drama and unforgettable characters. 

A film by Kathryn Dietz and Marc Mandel. Narrated by Natalie Jacobson. A Co-Production of the Needham History Center & Museum, The Needham Channel, and Needham 300.
(2012. Runtime: 1 hour, 5 minutes)

A series of short films that tell the history of Needham’s schools, past and present. 

Films by Derick Risner. A Co Production of the Needham History Center & Museum and The Needham Channel. 
(2018-2022. 15 episodes. Runtime 5-8 minutes each)