Needham History Center & Museum

Online Presentations

The Needham History Center has a YouTube channel. Recorded presentations are uploaded and made available for free streaming. You can find the specific presentations at the links below, and on our channel.

Notable Needhamites

You see their names on our streets and buildings, but do you know who they are or why the town has honored them? Needham has been the home of many accomplished – even world-famous – people. Hear about some of the Notable Needhamites (past and present) whose efforts and accomplishments have shaped our town and our world.

(Recorded 13 February 2022. Duration 0:54:39)
Gloria Greis, Executive Director, Needham History Center & Museum. 

Vikings on the Charles, or, The Strange Saga of Norumbega, Dighton Rock, and Rumford’s Double-Acting Baking Powder

Why is there a statue of Leif Eriksson on Comm Ave? How did Boston, of all places, become identified with the Vinland of Viking legend? And what does Rumford Double-Acting Baking Powder have to with all this? The story is more complicated than you’d think.

(Recorded 12 January 2022. Duration 0:56:58)
Gloria Greis, Executive Director, Needham History Center & Museum. 

Enslavement in Needham: Reckoning with a Difficult History

Yes, it happened here. Many of Needham’s eighteenth-century founding families were enslavers, and the historical record was “whitewashed” or buried after slavery was abolished in Massachusetts in 1783. Join us for a discussion of the role of enslavement in Needham’s history, and how its effects are shaping our current ideas of community and justice.

(Recorded 21 February 2021. Duration 1:04:41)
Gloria Greis, Executive Director, Needham History Center & Museum and Rev. Catie Scudera, Minister, First Parish in Needham.

Needham’s Streetcar Journey from Farmland to Suburb

We love to complain about transportation, but the transportation systems that we love to hate have played an outsized role in the creation of the town we know. From its strategic position alongside the coach roads, to the “streetcar suburb,” to the Commonwealth’s “smart growth” agenda, Needham’s geography and economy have been shaped by our unusually-rich access to the roads, rails, and rivers.

(Recorded 25 February 2021. Duration 0:49:19)
Gloria Greis, Executive Director, Needham History Center & Museum. 

Women’s Suffrage in Needham

Like every community in the country, Needham debated and disagreed over the issue of suffrage for women. Hear about how our town responded to the national debate, and how our citizens and our leaders, and even a few surprising allies, took part.

(Recorded 22 September 2020. Duration 0:41:36) Gloria Greis, Executive Director, Needham History Center & Museum. 

The Bird Journals of Timothy Otis Fuller

Timothy Otis Fuller (1845-1916) was a naturalist, and his field of study was Needham. Fuller studied Needham’s plants, birds, and reptiles in patient and minute detail. His observations of Needham’s birds were kept in four journals from 1904 through 1912, illustrated with his finely-detailed watercolor paintings. He also recorded detailed species comparisons, notes on habitats and behavior, as well as a yearly census. This priceless record can be compared to current data to evaluate the changes in local climate and habitats over the last 100 years.

(Recorded 20 October 2020. Duration 0:38:00)
Gloria Greis, Executive Director, Needham History Center & Museum.