Are you a history buff? An antiquity aficionado? A devotee of days gone by? If so, you might be interested to know that one of the most decorated and celebrated historical societies in the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors region is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The Jefferson County Historical Society (JCHS) was founded in 1967. Several years later it was certified by the Jefferson County Commissioners as the “official historical society for the county”.

The men and women that made up the JCHS performed an innumerable amount of great and noteworthy deeds for Jefferson County and the surrounding areas throughout the years, but what could be considered their crowning achievement was the restoration of the Nathan Greene Edelbutte building, and its adaptation into one of the foremost history centers in Western Pennsylvania.

The Jefferson County History Center

The Jefferson County History Center opened its doors to the public on March 26th, 2004, a date which also marked the 200th anniversary of the founding of Jefferson County (these people don’t do anything without at least a touch of historical significance).

Since that time, the Jefferson County History Center’s unparalleled success has been recognized by two Awards of Merit and two H.K. Stevens Memorial Awards from the Pennsylvania Federation of Museums and Historical Organizations, as well as two Awards of Merit from the American Association of State and Local History.

Their latest project, Scripture Rocks Heritage Park in Brookville, is already raking in a number of awards including the PA Museums Institutional Award, the Brookville Chamber of Commerce’s Presidents Cup, and the American Association of State and Local History Leadership in History Award. Ken Burkett was also awarded the PA Museums Individual Award for overseeing the project.

So how has this small organization achieved such a large amount of success? Perhaps there’s no better explanation than the one provided by the society’s mission statement:

Our purpose is to engage people of all ages in the history of Jefferson County. We collect and care for relevant objects, images and documents and we invite county residents and visitors to research our materials, interact with our exhibits, take part in our programs and read our publications, in order to encourage an understanding of our past and present and a vision for the future.

Through a combination of events – such as the Antique Firearms and Indian Artifacts Show (September 2nd 2017) – and featured exhibits – like the “All Fired Up” exhibit which showcases the evolution of Jefferson County’s firefighters and firefighting equipment from 1898 to the present day – the Jefferson County History Center and the Jefferson County Historical Society continue to educate the public and engage future generations of local historians. They provide a valuable service to the community, and to all visitors, by keeping the past in the present.

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