I can’t think of another piece of landscape of similar size where so many things have happened that have been of significance in the story of America.
— David McCullough Pulitzer Prize winning historian and Harry S Truman biographer

JCHS News and Updates

From the JCHS Executive Director


Like many other historical organizations, the Jackson County Historical Society has begun the long process of digitizing our vast archival holdings.

Currently, staff and volunteers are working on scanning the large photograph collection that contains over 25,000 images.

Photographs are the number one requested item to view in our archive center which is one reason we chose to start there. 

Jackson County Historical Society welcomes Caitlin Eckard to our staff filling a full-time position as operations manager and responsible for overseeing the JCHS Archives. 

Caitlin will join the JCHS staff on Sept. 1.

Eckard has an extensive background with regional historical organizations and has an undergraduate degree in history and masters in public history from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

She has worked with the Johnson County (KS) County Museum and most recently worked for the American Truck Historical Society.

Her experiences include arranging exhibits, educational programming, digitization, historical sites and working in archives.

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News items
Missing Joelouis Mattox

Joelouis Mattox was an engaging, kind, interesting local historian who always endeavored to share stories about the community, particularly the African-American experience.

He share our deep condolences on his recent death and the outpouring of tributes to him.

Most recently, Mattox shared stories of African-American soldiers who served during World War I.

German exhibit opens in April

Join the Jackson County Historical Society for a new exhibit featured at the 1859 Jail, Marshal's Home and Museum. Coming to Missouri: German Migration in the 19th Century explores the massive influx of German immigrants that came to Missouri.

There is a special open house for the exhibit on Thurs., April 27th at the 1859 Old Jail on the Independence Square. The opening is free.

Ginger Rogers' Independence birthplace to open as house museum

The birthplace of Ginger Rogers at 100 W Moore Street in Independence, Missouri is being renovated and will open as a small museum open to the public this summer.

Rogers was born in a tiny room in the 1906 Craftsman Bungalow on July 16, 1911. Her mother, Lela, worked as a secretary nearby, and later was a Hollywood script writer and Rogers’ manager.

The Ginger House will be open to the public during a July 15-16, 2017 grand opening. The weekend will include a “Ginger Festival” with a dinner, silent auction, presentations, and tours of the home.

JCHS Announces Annual Award Winners

The Jackson County Historical Society will recognizes three distinguished history-related efforts with awards during its Jan. 19th annual meeting and dinner.

The award winners are Wide Awake Films, FamilySearch and a book about Kansas City collectibles.

Two JCHS volunteers - John Campbell (Archives and Research Library) and April Milam (1859 Jail Museum) - will also be recognized for this efforts.


New JCHS Journal Available Online

The Summer 2016 JCHS Journal is now available online.

We share this in support of our educational mission and hope you will consider supporting our organization.

JCHS finds 1947 Santa Cali Gon video

The Jackson County Historical Society recently posted a 1947 home video made of the the second-ever Santa Cali Gon festival held.

The Independence community festival celebrates the community's role in outfitting those leaving for the West along the Santa Fe, California and Oregon trails.

The video was featured in a story in The Examiner and there is more information on Santa Cali Gon our website including a copy of the 1940 program for the first festival.

The 17-minute video is being edited by local filmmaker Jefferson to promote this year's festival held over Labor Day.

Check out our Santa Cali Gon page.

JCHS recognizes award winners at  annual dinner

The Jackson County Historical Society recognized several individuals and organizations for their contributions to local history at its upcoming annual dinner.

The 2014 award winners are:

  • Historic Preservation Award: Historic Kansas City Foundation for 40 Years of Advocacy for our Built Environment
  • Bringing History to Life Award: R. Crosby Kemper III and Henry Fortunato for their roles in the Kansas City Library’s “Meet the Past” interview series
  • Local Group Making a Difference Award: The Midwest Afro-American Genealogical Interest Coalition (MAGIC)
  • Local History Book of the Year Award: Bruce Mathews for Windows of Kansas City
  • Collaboration in History Award: Ed Matheny Jr. for publication of Cowtown: Cattle Trails and West Bottom Tales in partnership with Mid-Continent Public Library
  • Volunteers of the Year Award: Paul White, Archives and Research Library and Timothy Truman, 1859 Jail Museum.

See a list of prior award winners.

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