The Hamburg Historical Society (the Society) had its origins in 1954, when a community-minded group of citizens, concerned with preserving the heritage of the Town of Hamburg, gathered together and organized. Minutes of meetings preserved by the Society indicate regular meetings from that date and in 1962 the Society successfully conducted a Town-wide Sesquicentennial Celebration. The Society was formalized on May 3, 1966 when by-laws were adopted.
In an effort to preserve the assets gained from the Sesquicentennial and to perpetuate the Society, the group applied for and received a provisional charter from the University of the State of New York’s Education Department. The permanent charter was granted on September 25, 1970. During it’s early years the Society would acquire the present 7.5 acre parcel of land on South Park Avenue from the Flenniken Estate. This land would eventually become home of the Society's museum.
In 1974, the Society constructed a steel building on the South Park site. In an effort to use the building for more than just storage, the Society entered into an agreement under the CETA Grant Program to complete a portion of the interior as well as the parking and driveway areas, and also to assist in the preparation of artifacts & library materials for exhibition and research.
The years that followed would be exciting and eventful times as the campus on South Park avenue would be expanded with the addition of several historic buildings. In 1979 the society would help oversee the moving of the Boies-Lord House from Main & Center Streets in the village to it’s present location on South Park Avenue. Today under a long time lease with the Historical Society, the Antiques Study Group maintains and operates the house as a classic example of a Hamburg village home and the life of the people who lived there in the mid 19th century. This would be followed by the addition of several other structures to the South Park campus, including 3 barns, a jail and a carriage house
In 1996, James and Myra Dunn donated their home at 6902 Gowanda State Road to the Society. Under the terms of the agreement, the Society was required to hold the property for five years and operate it as a historical museum. It was held until 2011 when the financial burden of operating two sites simply became too much for the all volunteer group. As a result, the property was sold. The proceeds of the sale were then used to help construct the Museum at the South Park Avenue site, thereby enabling the Society to consolidate all historical artifacts in one location.
Past presidents of the Society are as follows:
- George G. Sipprell 1954 – 1956
- Benjamin Bradley 1956 – 1957
- Ethel Churchill & 1957 - 1958
- Florence Eckhardt 1957 – 1958
- Sydney Brown 1958 – 1959
- Bessie Schoepperle 1959 – 1960
- Elton Health 1960 – 1962
- John Meran 1962 – 1963
- Sherwood Sipprell 1963 – 1965
- Lester C. Burgwardt 1965 – 1972
- Donald J. Spittler 1972 – 1983
- Lester C. Burgwardt 1983 - 1990
- Maxine Dilivio 1990 - 1994
- Joseph Streamer 1994 – 2009
- Julianne Howes 2009 - 2014