July 18, 2024

The Needham Channel

Your Town…Your Neighbors…Your Television!

Historical Documentaries:

Works in Collaboration with the Needham History Center and Museum


  • Episode 1: The Parker School
    Runtime: 8 minutes
Needham School Houses
The public education of children has changed greatly over the years. One way to mark the differences in educational standards is to look at the structures put in place to carry out that mission. In this ground-breaking series of short documentaries, the Needham History Center and Museum teams up with documentarian Derick Risner to explore Needham's rich educational past, present and future.

2018 - 2023 • Runtime: varies per episode
A Few Minutes with Bob Larsen
Maybe you know of Bob Larsen from the editorial cartoons that ran in the "Needham Times" newspaper for years. Or maybe you first noticed his work when the Needham Exchange Club phonebook (remember those?) landed on your doorstep each year. Or perhaps you were one of the lucky few who sought him out for a portrait or a commissioned work. Either way, this local artist has had quite an impact on the town over the years. He was recently honored with a mural by the Needham Revitalization Trust Fund, and we took the opportunity to talk with him about how all this came to be.

2022 • Runtime: 9 minutes
Notable Needhamites
You see the names all over town as you drive through the streets--heck, sometimes the streets themselves bear those names. But who were these people that have had such an impact on the town, the state, or even the country? Gloria Greis introduces you to some locals (some born, others transplanted) to Needham, and gives you a glimpse at how they impacted our history.

2022 • Runtime: 55 minutes
Vikings on the Charles
"In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue"...and was long celebrated as the first European to set foot in North America. Except that he really wasn't. Learn about the centuries old movement to give that credit to Leif Erikson, and how that is connected to memorable Boston architecture and...baking powder?

2022 • Runtime: 57 minutes
Fireworks! Illuminations! Cheers!
One of the things that history tries to explain is why things are the way they are. A lot of what makes Needham a desirable suburb can be traced back to its location and the travelling options that run through it. Sure, the towns road to success may indeed have been paved, but it was first tied to the creation of train lines. Dig a little deeper and a defunct electric streetcar system also got the town going at a critical point. Join the Needham History Center and Museum’s Executive Director, Dr. Gloria Greis, as she tracks down the reasons we should celebrate our transportation transformation.

2021 • Runtime: 50 minutes
Enslavement in Needham: Reckoning with a Difficult History
In collaboration with the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Needham, Executive Director of the Needham History Center and Museum Gloria Greis teamed up with Reverend Catie Scudera to explore the history of enslavement in Needham, and the repercussions it has had in the centuries since abolition. The event was held as part of the Needham Free Public Library's Vivian McIver Lecture Series.

2021 • Runtime: 65 minutes
The Fuller Bird Journals
Timothy Otis Fuller was a self-taught naturalist, who spent years studying the plants and birds of Needham. In his journals tracking 1904 - 1912, he created a priceless record that is not only beautiful, but can be compared to current data, to evaluate the changes in local climate over the last 100 years.

2020 • Runtime: 38 minutes
Women's Suffrage in Needham
August 18, 2020 was the centennial anniversary of ratification of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. There had been a lot of discussion that year to hear about the national and statewide efforts to achieve women’s suffrage – but this talk is an opportunity to look at how the town of Needham responded to the national debate when it had just began, and how our citizens, leaders, and even a few surprising allies, took part.

2020 • Runtime: 42 minutes
Beautiful & Bizarre: William Baker's Ridge Hill Farms
William Emerson Baker lived two lives: one as an successful entrepreneur who founded one of the largest sewing machine companies in the world, the other as a wealthy eccentric who built what many call America's first amusement park.

2016 • Runtime: 1 hour, 7 minutes
The Millen-Faber Gang
During the 1930s there were many gangs roaming the midwest robbing banks and having shootouts with cops. What you may not know is that we had a gang of our own that terrorized Massachusetts in 1933-34. Their biggest crime was right here in Needham.

2013 • Runtime: 1 hour, 28 minutes
Big Little Town: The Story of Needham
Explore 300 years of Needham History in this wonderfully collaborative effort by The Needham Channel, The Needham History Center and Museum and filmmaker Kathryn Dietz. This project was supported by the efforts of the Needham Tercentennial Committee.

2012 • Runtime: 1 hour, 5 minutes