Lorraine Therrien organized the Canaan Historical Society in 1984. She arranged for a public meeting, held at the Town Office, and invited Richard Lapointe, who was, at that time, the president of the Pittsburg Historical Society. Lorraine guided those attending through the process of organizing a local society, depending on Richard for advice and appreciating his offers of assistance.
As a result, the original Constitution and By-Laws were pretty much patterned on those of the Pittsburg organization, although after time, adaptations were made. The Society applied to the Secretary of State’s office for the non-profit status, which is still renewed every second year.
At first, Canaan people seemed reluctant to offer items to be exhibited to illustrate the heritage of the community. Research resulted in a history of Jacobs’ Stand, the house that was built in 1846 by Fernando Jacobs. He established the place as a stop on the stage route from Franklin, NH to Montreal. He and his family lived in the house and he also carried on a business with a tannery, just down the hill below the house. This historic house had been named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, and soon became established as the headquarters for the Canaan Historical Society upstairs above the town’s public library.
Eventually, artifacts and memorabilia began to accumulate, and the museum was able to develop some permanent exhibits and also to create small short term special displays. Monthly meetings were held and, for quite a few years, speakers were invited to expand our understanding of our heritage. When the organizers of the meetings began to be disappointed by poorly attended meetings, the Society shifted toward researching bits and pieces of Canaan’s past, and filing the photographs and written materials in a growing archive.