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Thompson-Ames Historical Society, which was organized in 1943 for the purpose of preserving and celebrating Gilford's cultural history, operates and makes available to the public three museum buildings, all of which are located along Belknap Mountain Road, the main street in historic Gilford Village.

Union Meetinghouse
In 1943, when Gilford's historical society was being formed, George Ames, seeing an opportunity to become a benefactor to Gilford, his home town, bought the then-vacant Union Meetinghouse and gave it as a meeting place as well as a museum for Gilford's historical society. In turn the historical society took the name "Thompson-Ames Historical Society to honor the benefactor's maternal and paternal lineage.
During the next 50 years Thompson-Ames Historical Society received so many items reflective of Gilford's cultural heritage that its Unioni Meeting house became filled to capacity.

Mt. Belknap Grange / 1857 General Store

Just down the street from the Union Meetinghouse stands another historic building destined to become a museum building of Thompson-Ames Historical Society. Now on the National Register of Historic Places as the "John J. Morrill Store of 1857", this building once was the center of community life when Gilford had a farm-based economy.

In 1907 this building was bought by Gilford's Mt. Belknap Grange No. 52, a local branch of the 1867 national farm organization, and served as site for agricultural programs and ceremonial meetings as well as socials, such as the Grange dinners. However, as farm-way-of-life faded from existence, so did membership in Gilford's Grange, which by 1990 was down to 12 members who then turned in their charter and gave their historic building to T-AHS.

In 1996 Thompson-Ames Historical Society reorganized its museum collections into theme areas which are located throughout the Meetinghouse and the Grange museum buildings.

Benjamin Rowe House

Another opportunity for Thompson-Ames Historical Society to maintain a museum building in Gilford Village presented itself in 2002, when the town-owned Benjamin Rowe House, which had been historically renovated some ten years earlier and then served as office for the New Hampshire Music Festival, became vacant when the NH Music Festival decided to move its office to the REd Hills site which it had been developing in Center Harbor.

Constructed c. 1838 of bricks made on site by Benjamin Rowe, Gilford's Rowe House is a unique Greek-revival cape farmhouse occupied over time by the Rowe, Sawyer and Wilson farm families. Appropriately furnished with authentic antiques from the Arthur Ames Tilton household, this museum building's downstairs exemplifies the parlor, diningroom, bedroom and kitchen of the 1800s-early 1900s, while upstairs reflects life of the 1900s.

These three vintage museum buildings provide Thompson-Ames Historical Society with a variety of opportunities to appropriately display the numerous items that reflect Gilford's cultural heritage.

The historical society's mission is to preserve these items and the museum buildings in which they are housed and to make these vintage items and buildings available to the public.

Thompson-Ames Historical Society welcomes requests for tours and field trips.