History is compelling. It shapes our understanding of who we are as individuals, as communities, and as a society. We draw on our understanding of history to contextualize the present and to create the future.
Founded in 1886 as the Lackawanna Institute of History and Science, the
Lackawanna Historical Society provides the community with a record of local history through its museum and library collections, exhibits and programs. In 1965 Lackawanna County designated the Society as the official county historical society. Today, we continue to serve as a center for local history resources, which are organized and maintained at our headquarters, the historic Catlin House. These resources are used to implement public educational programming and interpret the region’s rich history. Popular events include the annual local history game show “You Live Here; You Should Know This!”, summer downtown walking tours, Children’s Day at the Catlin House, Historic Hill House Tour and many more.
The Catlin House, officially named the George H. Catlin Memorial House, is located at 232 Monroe Avenue in Scranton, surrounded by the campus of The University of Scranton and is adjacent to the city’s downtown. Designed in a Tudor revival style by architect Edward Langley in 1912, it
was the primary residence of Scranton financier George Henry Catlin and his wife Helen and has served as the headquarters for the Lackawanna Historical Society since 1942. The Society maintains weekly hours at the Catlin House, including Saturdays, and is open to the public for touring,
conducting research and attending monthly lectures and educational programs.
With a vast collection — including artifacts, photographs, maps, textiles, artworks, manuscript materials, books, films, and oral histories — the Society serves as the county’s collective memory. Our research library,
museum, digital platforms, educational programming, and historical publications make Lackawanna County’s history accessible to all. With strong support from both public and private sectors, we offer a broad array of programs that create meaningful opportunities for scholarship, creative projects, learning, teaching, and community building — all centered around the county’s long, complex history.