The BEDFORD HISTORICAL SOCIETY was organized in 1955 (inc. 1961) to preserve the history of Bedford Twp., which originally included the SUBURBS of BEDFORD , BEDFORD HTS., MAPLE HTS. , OAKWOOD, and WALTON HILLS. It manages the Bedford Historical Society Museum and has restored and preserves Bedford Commons on Bedford's public square. The society opened in 1957 in a vacant classroom at Central Elementary School. A nonprofit organization with 450 members, it is governed by an 18-member Board of Directors. The museum was started in 1959 by Richard Squire and William M. Jacka, collectors of local historical relics who contributed to the museum's early collections. Squire has been the museum's director since its beginning. In 1963, for a token payment of $10, the society purchased the old Bedford Town Hall, built in 1874, spent $40,000 for restoration, and moved the museum there. Collections included a china and glass exhibit; the Willard Room, with a large woodcarving of ARCHIBALD MACNEAL WILLARD's SPIRIT OF '76; Civil War material; the Jacka 1876 Centennial Medallic Collection; the Leonard Siegel Railway Collection; period room settings; and various works of ART. An extensive historical reference library is maintained, along with archival and genealogical resource collections. Historical Society properties include the 1874 Town Hall and the 1832 Hezekiah Dunham house (both of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places), and the former Bedford Baptist Church, currently (1995) used as Bedford's community building. Membership dues, donations, book sales, and proceeds from the annual Strawberry Social support the Bedford Historical Society.