Rental Frequently Asked Questions

We often get asked certain questions regarding the use of the House for a private rental. Below are answers to some of the most common questions for meeting and event rentals. If your question is not answered below, please contact the Site Manager at 781-721-0135 or manager@winchesterhistoricalsociety.org

Booking your date:
1. Other than the listed rental rate, are there any additional fees for my rental to consider?
2. Can I visit the Sanborn House to plan my event?
3. What is included in my rental?

Setup and Cleanup:
1. Can I drop things off and get the House ready for my event ahead of time?
2. Is anyone onsite during my rental?
3. Can I decorate the Sanborn House?
4. Who sets up the furniture?
5. In terms of “cleanup”, for what I am held responsible?

Food and Drink:
1. Can I have food and/or drink at the Sanborn House?
2. Do you have a list of caterers with whom you regularly work?
3. Can I have alcohol at my event?

Other considerations:
1. Are there any time restrictions on my event?
2. Will my event be cancelled due to poor weather?
3. I’d like to change the date of my event. Is that possible?
4. Who do I ask if I have questions?


Booking your date

Other than the listed rental rate, are there any additional fees for my rental to consider?

All rentals should include one hour before the event and one hour afterwards to account for setup and cleanup, which is usually plenty of time. Additionally, all rentals carry a 20% Rental Administrative fee that is used for professional cleaning services after each event.

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Can I visit the Sanborn House to plan my event?

A typical rental includes at least two visits to the House to plan for furniture arrangement and other planning.  In consideration of our limited hours, we try to be as flexible as possible about planning meetings for each event.

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What is included in my rental?

A rental includes use of the first floor public rooms, which consists of the front entry, the Oak Room, the Library, the Music Room, and the Dining Room.  Any function rental includes the two original bathrooms at either side of the front door, as well as the new ADA-compliant bathroom located at the side entrance and use of the prep kitchen.

In terms of furniture, any rental includes use of our six conference tables, six wood card tables, and 50 folding chairs.

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Setup and Cleanup

Can I drop things off and get the House ready for my event ahead of time?

Since the House functions as the Historical Society offices, and multiple events take place in any given weekend, we ask that all setup take place in the setup time agreed upon by the Site Manager and rental client (usually one hour).

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Is anyone onsite during my rental?

During private rentals, the Historical Society provides an onsite house sitter at no cost to the client. This individual will open and close the House for the client and answer any questions that may arise during the rental time. Please note that this person is not required to assist with the rental (including setup/cleanup) unless previously instructed by the Site Manager.

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Can I decorate the Sanborn House?

Often, clients find that the elaborate interiors of the House  require little decoration. Yet if you are interested, you are welcome to bring in decorations that have been approved by the Site Manager. Flowers (live or artificial), balloons, posters and other decorations that do not require attachment to the walls are suitable. We ask that no tape or nails be used on the walls of the Sanborn House. Additionally, please do not plan to use decorations that require additional cleanup (such as confetti or pine needles).

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Who sets up the furniture?

If the client chooses to rent additional furniture, such as round dinner or cocktail tables, those will be set aside for the client to arrange during the setup time.  Any furniture that is the property of the Sanborn House (conference tables, card tables, and chairs) can also be arranged during the setup time.

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In terms of “cleanup”, for what I am held responsible?

The client is responsible for leaving the House in the condition in which it was before the rental, specifically food and waste removal.  All trash must be bagged and taken with you, including all recycling.  If there has been a food spill or any damage to the House than needs professional attention, please alert the house sitter present during the rental.

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Food and Drink

Can I have food and/or drink at the Sanborn House?

Yes, we allow food and drinks in all public rooms at the Sanborn House.  We ask that caution is used in consideration of our historic venue.  Food and drink can be provided by a catering service, or the client is welcome to bring in their own refreshments with the approval of the Site Manager.

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Do you have a list of caterers with whom you regularly work?

A list of preferred caterers is available upon request.  If you are interested in working with an unlisted caterer, please consult with the Site Manager.

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Can I have alcohol at my event?

Alcohol is allowed at the Sanborn House provided you follow a couple of steps.  First, a caterer or bartender must be secured who is licensed and insured.  Second, a one-day liquor permit, including a copy of the bartender or caterer’s Certificate of Liability must be filed at Town Hall at least two weeks before the event date.

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Other Considerations

Are there any time restrictions on my event?

Because the Sanborn House is a Town building stewarded by the Winchester Historical Society, a midnight curfew is in effect.  This requires all rentals to conclude by 11 pm so that the event organizers can exit the House by midnight.

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Will my event be cancelled due to poor weather?

The choice to cancel an event due to bad weather is the choice of the rental client. If the client chooses to reschedule the event due to inclement weather, s/he must notify the Site Manager no less than 24 hours in advance of the rental date.  Only if the client chooses to cancel the event altogether, rather than rescheduling for a later date, will be the deposit be forfeited.

Please keep in mind that the parking lots of Ambrose School and the Sanborn House are regularly plowed by the Town of Winchester, and that the entrances and drive of the Sanborn House is plowed by a private firm.

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I’d like to change the date of my event. Is that possible?

Once an event date has been confirmed on the invoice and with the payment of a deposit, we do not change the dates of events unless in truly extenuating circumstances.

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Who do I ask if I have questions?

Before the event date, questions can be answered by the Site Manager.   During the event, questions can be handled by the onsite house sitter.

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Organizations Supporting the Sanborn House and Winchester Historical Society Programs

Featured Publication

Wright-Locke Farm: A History in Pictures
by Ellen Knight

Look into the history of the Wright-Locke farm in a new 16-page booklet titled Wright-Locke Farm: A History in Pictures. Read More.

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