Fall Events

Our staff has been busy planning some amazing events for the Fall! We hope you can join us for one- or all of them!

October Ghost Tours- Can you believe this is our 7th year for Haunted Ghost Tours? Every Friday (except 10/13) and Saturday in October visitors can take a tour of the 1859 Jail and learn about the "spirits" that haunt the building. After you tour, guests will board a covered wagon to travel around the Historic Independence Square to learn more history. Tour times are at 7, 8, and 9PM. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for kids and go on sale to the general public September 5th. Members of JCHS have the option of purchasing early bird tickets beginning on September 1st. 

Historical Hauntings at the 1859 Jail- Friday the 13th! We have something special planned for Friday the 13th! The event has the same format as the Haunted Ghost Tours, but in Historical Hauntings, visitors have the opportunity to meet some of the "ghosts" that haunt our jail. Tour times are 7, 8, and 9PM. Tickets are $25 for adults, not recommended for children. 

The Bandit Rides Again- Trial Re-Enactment- October 14th, 1PM, Historic Truman Courthouse, Brady Courtroom. The Jackson County Historical Society will reenact the retrial of Bill "Whiskeyhead" Ryan and his involvement in the 1881 robbery of an Alton & Chicago train about five miles east of Independence at the Glendale Station. It is equally a story about the end of the Jesse James gang. This event is based on extensive research by local historian Ralph Monaco and will feature many members of the Jackson County legal community and other historic reenactors. The public performance will take place in the actual courtroom where the case was first heard in September 1881.
Space is limited for the performance in the historic Brady Courtroom in the Truman Courthouse on the Independence Square. Tickets are $10. Buy yours here

JCHS and the Digital Age

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. 

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Help is on its way - JCHS adds staff

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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JCHS 2014 Award Winners

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.

Happy holidays from JCHS

We wish you a Happy Holidays. During the holiday season, our hours will be limited.

The Jackson County History Center, located in the Truman Courthouse, will be closed Dec. 24-26 and closed on New Year's Day.

The 1859 Old Jail will be closed Dec. 23-25 and reopen from Dec. 26-30. The jail will be closed for the season and reopen on April 1.

Special tours of the Old Jail can be arranged by contacting Steve Noll, (816) 461-1897.

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