The Manlius Historical Society Museum was officially dedicated on June 13, 1976. The effort to create a historical society began early in the fall of 1974 when a Manlius citizen and insurance executive, Mr. Crome Dollase, thought it would be a good idea if there was a local history museum where the heritage of the greater Syracuse area could be enjoyed.  He took his idea to the Manlius Bicentennial Committee where it was well received.  Mr. Dollase then found a suitable home for the proposed museum.  It was a small maintenance building (previously used as a rest spot for district bus drivers) at the rear of the Pleasant Street School that was scheduled to be bulldozed. This building was obtained, eventually, at the rent of $1.00 a year for five years and eventually given to MHS by the F-M Central School District.

The historical society was formed while the building was being negotiated. It was designated the Manlius Historical Society, not because it was located in Manlius village, but because all of Eastern Onondaga County was once known as Manlius in 1794. With guidelines from the State, a constitution was written and non-profit incorporation obtained.  The Manlius Historical Society received its absolute charter from the NYS Education Department in 1990.

The Cheney House Research Center, a late 1920s bungalow, was donated to the Manlius Historical Society in 1978 by the Cheney family.  It contains the MHS office, the Channing Soule Library, collections storage, research and meeting space. The library has over 500 volumes and more than 8000 documents and photographs related to local history.