The Jefferson County Historical Society
The JCHS was established in 1967 and incorporated in 1971 as a non-profit organization that the Jefferson County Commissioners have certified as the official historical society for the county. In 2001, the Society began the preservation of the Nathan Greene Edelblute Building and adapted it as the Jefferson County History Center, opening the building on the 200th anniversary of the founding of the county, March 26th, 2004. 2017 marked the 50th Anniversary of the Historical Society.
Today, the JCHS owns and operates the Jefferson County History Center, Brady Craig House, and the Margaret Johnson Archives, all of which are located within Brookville’s Historic District. The latter two buildings are used primarily for storage and are not open to the public.
Located on Main Street, the History Center contains 9 galleries and 12 exhibit areas totaling 9,000 square feet of exhibit space, a research library, a gift shop, and staff offices.
The JCHS also opened Scripture Rocks Heritage Park, located on Route 28N near the Hazen exit of Interstate 80, as part of its plan to take history into the community.
Board of Directors & Staff
Each October, at the Annual Meeting, new officers are elected to our 12-member Board of Directors, and amendments to our by-laws are recommended and voted upon.
The board meets monthly, has well-organized committees, and spends time each January on strategic planning to develop and update its long-range goals and to ensure that the organization is consistently working to improve opportunities to engage people in the county’s history.
2021 Board of Directors
Tracy Zents, President
Colleen Cooney, Secretary
Larry Anthony Vice-President
Arthur McKinley Treasurer
Executive Director – Kenneth Burkett firstname.lastname@example.org
Administrative Operations – Kat Lyons email@example.com
Genealogy Research – Jack Neale firstname.lastname@example.org
Collections Assistant – Cynde Morrison email@example.com
Collections Assistant – Linda Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
JCHC Museum Shop – Faye Williams (814-849-0077)
The Jefferson County Historical Society is a registered 501 c3 non-profit and is certified as a charitable organization within Pennsylvania.
The JCHS develops an annual operating budget and maintains a lasting endowment as part of the annual strategic plan. Funding for the Scripture Rocks Heritage park is held separately.
General operating funds for the Society are primarily derived from from membership dues, donations, funding agreements with the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, and the Jefferson County Commissioners and a variety of grants for project specific exhibits and other endeavors.
A copy of the most recent tax audit and current financial report is available at any time by contacting the JCHS President or Executive Director.
The quality, expertise, and care that is incorporated into this small organization’s exhibits and projects is exemplified by the recognition in the form of numerous awards received over the years.
1980 Award of Merit to Jefferson County Historical & Genealogical Society for: Mini-Window Exhibits at Brady Craig Jefferson County Historical Museum by Pennsylvania Federation of Historical Societies
1983 Award of Merit to Jefferson County Historical & Genealogical Society for: Jefferson County Pennsylvania History 1982 (displayed as a mini-window exhibit) by the Pennsylvania Federation of Historical Societies
2007 Honorable Mention: JCHS and North Fork CH29, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology for: Native American Lifeways in Western Pennsylvania Exhibit by PA Federation of Museums & Historical Organizations
2008 Award of Merit: JCHS and North Fork CH29, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology for:Native American Lifeways in Western Pennsylvania Exhibit by American Association for State and Local History (AASLH)
2008 Initiative Award for Community Involvement: Presented to Carole A. Briggs by Preservation Pennsylvania
2009 S.K. Stevens Memorial Award: JCHS and North Fork CH.29, Society Pennsylvania Archaeology for: Native American Lifeways in Western Pennsylvania Exhibit by PA Federation of Museums and Historical Organizations
2010 Award of Merit to Jefferson County Historical Society for: Living on the Land Exhibit by PA Federation of Museums and Historical Organizations
2011 Award of Merit to Jefferson County Historical Society for the exhibit: Living on the Land Exhibit by the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH)
2011 S.K. Stevens Memorial Award for Living on the Land Exhibit by PA Museums Special Achievement Awards
2015 Award of Merit to Brian Fritz and Kenneth Burkett, Jefferson County Historical Society for: The Scripture Rocks: Why Douglas Stahlman Carved His Legacy in Stone, 2014 by the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH)
2016 Scripture Rocks Heritage Park Grand Opening, Jefferson County Historical Society Dedication by PHMC President and Exec Director of Heinz History Center, and PA Deputy Secretary for Marketing, Tourism and Film, Director of PA Lumber Heritage Region, Senator Scarnati, Representative Dush, Jefferson County Commissioners
2016 Scripture Rocks Heritage Park, Jefferson County History Center was designated as “1 of the Top 10 places to visit in Pennsylvania” by uncoveringpa.com
2017 Institutional Special Achievement Award for Scripture Rocks Heritage Park by Pa Museums
2017 Individual Special Achievement Award to Kenneth Burkett, Executive Director, Jefferson County History Center, for: Scripture Rocks Heritage Park by PA Museums
2017 President’s Cup Award to Jefferson County Historical Society for:Scripture Rocks Heritage Park by the Brookville Area Chamber of Commerce
2017 Award of Merit to Jefferson County Historical Society for:Scripture Rocks Heritage Park by the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH)
2018 S.K. Stevens Memorial Award to Jefferson County History Center for: Scripture Rocks Heritage Park by PA Museums
2018 Community Initiative Award to Jefferson County Historical Society for: Partnering with North Fork Chapter 29, Society Pennsylvania Archaeology: “Archaeology-related outreach, education and volunteerism in our local and regional community”by PA State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), Pennsylvania Historic Museum Commission
2018 Jefferson Award for Public Service through Volunteerism to Carole A. Briggs
2020 Institutional Special Achievement Award for the Stones N’ Bones Exhibit by PA Museums
The JCHS collects and preserves artifacts, photographs, documents, books and other items related to the history of this rural county ranging from prehistoric times to the present.
The Society also archives the Jefferson County tax records and makes them available to researchers at our off-site Brady Craig archives.
Items currently not on display may be researched through the PastPerfect database accessible to the public from any of the JCHC computers. Upon request, specific items will be transported from our archives location to the History Center for researchers to use.
A fee schedule exists for photographs that will be utilized in any for profit publication or endeavor not affiliated with the JCHC and proper acknowledgement of source is required.
The JCHS publishes and distributes three issues of the our newsletter the Jeffersonian to all members in January, June and September and our annual publication the Jeffersonian Journal in October.
The Society also offers an an open invitation to aspiring authors to submit an article on some aspect of Jefferson County history, for publication in our annual annual peer-reviewed Jeffersonian Journal. For more information contact Kat Lyons at email@example.com or at 814-849-0077. The annual submission deadline is August 1st. Manuscripts however, may be sent at any time. Please refer to the Journal Submission Guidelines.
The History Center can provide your group or organization with a specialized program at your location on a variety of interesting topics that include archaeology and Native Americans, the Civil War, the Story of Scripture Rocks, Genealogy, important historical people, interesting historical aspects of the county and our collections.
We also offer guided museum tours and behind the scenes tours of our exhibits and collections.
For a complete list of speakers and available programs, contact the History Center at 814-849-0077.
Please make speaker arrangements at least 4 – 6 weeks in advance. An appropriate honorarium is expected to the JCHC.
The Jefferson County History Center and Scripture Rocks Heritage Park welcomes school groups of all ages.
Please complete the Group Tour Form and contact us at least 14 days in advance for groups of 15 or more in order to discuss your groups needs and visiting options both at the museum and a historical walking tour of downtown Brookville.
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JCHS Annual Award Presentations
JCHS Annual Awards Past Recipients
The JCHS annually recognizes groups or individuals who have significantly furthered the mission of the JCHS through their efforts to preserve and or make available in some unique way the History of Jefferson County. Anyone is welcome to submit a recommendation for either of the awards by contacting the JCHC and providing a brief summary of the nominee’s contribution.
Arthur Altman Award
Presented annually in recognition of a JCHS member who has contributed to preserving Jefferson County History.
2020 Carole Briggs
2019 Ed Frank
2018 Austin Fields
2017 Mary Puskarich
2016 Ron Luckenbill
2015 Betty Elza
2014 Bowdish Volunteers
2013 Judy Brady
2012 Dr. Paul Harvey
2011 Louisa Striver
2010 Wrayanne L. Clapie
2009 Randy Bartley
2008 Joan Matson
2007 William Gilbert
2006 Russell Harriger
2005 Jack & Jean Parker
2004 David Taylor
2003 Jean Harriger
2002 James Sterrett
2001 Katherine Sandt Taylor
Kate M. Scott Award
Presented annually in recognition of any person or group who has contributed to preserving Jefferson County History.
2020 Britt Isenberg
2019 George Miller
2018 Colleen Hummel
2017 Summerville Story Project
2016 Humphrey Land Trust (Jim Humphrey)
2015 Rob Keith
2014 Brian Fritz
2013 Dr. Todd Phannesteil
2012 John Hallman
2011 Shirley J. Sharp
2010 Agnes Songer
2009 Jefferson County Commissioners
2008 North Fork Chapter 29
2007 Harry Neuhard
2006 Tom Curry
2005 Ada Redin
2004 Eugene Deible
2003 Bill McCracken
2002 Laura Mae Baker
2001 Patricia Steele