Grand Opening of the E.M. “Jack” and Jean Parker Archives

Our new Archives building is now officially dedicated as E.M. “Jack” & Jean Parker Archives.  We held the dedication ceremony on Saturday July 15th, a beautiful sunny day, hosting ~50 guests, including some Jefferson County natives from out of state. 

Guests enjoyed a smorgasbord of heavy hors d’oeuvres, taking cover from the hot sun under our tents for the program. Tracy Zents, Board VP, was the M.C. for the program featuring JCHC Board and guest speakers which included Eric Armstrong, Board President; Tracy Zents, Randy Bartley (Borough Council), Carole Briggs (past curator and Executive Director) and Ken Burkett, Executive Director for the past 15 years (also known as “Jack – of – All – Trades”) and Project Manager for the renovation of the new Archives.  Each contributed a story – or two – of the history of the JCHS and evolution of the History Center Museum and Archives. 

Ken told the saga of the year and one quarter of planning and permitting, construction and renovation that it took to transform an ugly duckling (the old “Blews Hall” had fallen into disrepair) into a suitable archives, along with all the trials and tribulations.

Jean Parker
Mrs. Jean Parker

Besides taking its toll on Ken, this project also took its toll on Ken’s truck – with minor dings and major dents – what with all the moving of the JCHS collections from Brady-Craig House and the Margaret Johnson Archives to the new Archives.  Tracy cheekily offered to pass around the donation jar for a new truck, which amused the guests no end.

This is our 3rd major renovation we have undertaken, from the early 1970s renovation of the Brady-Craig House on Jefferson St and the early 2000s massive renovation of our current Museum on Main St.

Lastly, but certainly not least, Jean Parker was our Special Guest of Honor.  The new archives would not exist without her generosity. Jean gave a brief but moving speech. She also admonished us for demanding that her name also be on the signage and on her individual plaque, as she always deferred to honoring Jack, her late husband. 

Tracy and Kat Lyons (JCHC Operations) then presented the plaque of Silver and Bronze Patrons, and four special individual plaques to our Gold, Platinum and Patron Saint Patrons.  These plaques will be permanently installed in the 2nd floor Board Room.

After presentation of the plaques Jean then unveiled the sign that carries the new name of the E.M “Jack” & Jean Parker Archives.

Everyone then toured the two stories holding the county’s archives and artifacts collections, led by Board Members and Staff.  The unboxed larger collections were visible to all – from 1800s farming implements to butter churns, saddles and rocking horses, and antique furniture. Part of the Louisa Striver Victorian reproduction clothing collection was also viewable.