Jefferson County Historical Society, Inc
615 W. First St.
Madison, Indiana, 47250
The Jefferson County Historical Society was founded in 1850 and stands as one of the oldest organizations of its kind in the Midwest. Our major emphasis is “the collection and preservation of the artifacts and documents which are significant to the interpretation of the history of Jefferson County…A museum, open to the public, is one of the principal means of conveying information…”
The Society operates the 1895 Madison RR Station, which it restored, opened “Phase I” of the new County Museum in 1992, a modern 6,000 square foot building, continues a spring garden tour, “Madison In Bloom,” which has attracted national media attention, and has developed innovative children’s educational programs which have received regional recognition. The Society maintains a full calendar of adult programs, tours, and lectures.
The Society has also published Beloved Madison, a beautiful book of over 350 color photos of the downtown Madison, Our other publications include oral history, black history, and early public documents.
Exhibits have been developed with the help of professional exhibit designers, and a number of major artifacts have been restored, using conservators of national reputation.
The Society has received national recognition in 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1999 from the federal Institute of Museum Services These awards are on the basis of the quality of the museum’s operations and programs, rather than on need. As Diane Frankel, the Director of the Institute, has noted, “In Order to receive such an sward, the museum must demonstrate outstanding performance in all areas of museum operations.” The only other museums in Indiana to receive this grant in the 1997 cycle, for example, were the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, and the Indianapolis Zoo.
In 1999, the Society’s new “Phase II” building addition was completed and opened to the public. It contains 8,000 square feet and includes an expanded exhibit gallery, the Research Library and Archives, and an expanded climate controlled storage for the Society’s collection of artifacts. The exhibit gallery is equipped with computer network wiring for future interactive displays. The new gallery is more than double in size over the former display area. Ceiling height is also an added two feet that enables us to create far more dramatic displays. Our plans call for remodeling our “old” exhibit gallery into a Children’s Education Center/Public Meeting Room. The size of the County Museum is now over 14,000 square feet.
The Jefferson County Historical Society continually welcomes new members and visitors; for more information call or visit us at the above address and ask for Joe or Diana.