About JCHS

Who are we?

The Jackson County Historical Society is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving the written, oral, and physical legacy of this county. We do this by maintaining physical collections and promoting the study, appreciation, and interpretation of local and regional history.

The History of Celebrating History

Our roots can be traced to 1909 when a group of citizens interested in history first started meeting. In 1940 the group formally organized and in 1958 officially incorporated as The Jackson County Historical Society to celebrate our rich, unique story. Their first order of business was to save the 1859 Jail in Independence. 

More Than a "Society"

Our physical archives, research library, and bookstore are located in the Truman Courthouse on the historic Independence Square. The Jackson County Historical Society also maintains the 1859 Jail and Marshal's Home Museum where Frank James and William Clarke Quantrill were incarcerated.

Who is Involved?

With the cooperation of the Executive Director, The Jackson County Historical Society Board of Directors guides the successful operation of the organization to bring history to life and assist researchers and historians of all sorts for generations to come.

Much of our success is attributed to the dedication of volunteers and members. A significant portion of our funding comes from membership dues, gifts, donations, and grants. With these generous contributions we are able to offer a variety of products, services and programs at the sites and around the county.

Our own history

Wilda Sandy, a stalwart JCHS member, wrote a short history of the local historical society titled The History of the Jackson County Historical Society - a thumbnail history that covered 1909 to 1996. It is an interesting read of an early time. Download a copy.


Caitlin Eckard, Executive Director
Savannah Lore, Archives and Education Director
Kevin Ploth, Wilborn Collection Lead
Larry Penrose, Administrative Assistant


Organizational Information

JCHS files an annual IRS Form 990 shows its income and expenses. These are reviewed annually by the board of directors. Public inspection copies for three most recent years are below.

2016 Form 990

Prior Years

2015 Form 990 | 2014 Form 990 | 2013 Form 9902011 Form 990  2010 Form 9902009 Form 990

More organizational and financial information are available through our GuideStar profile.

Historical Information

Past Presidents
The historical society has been led over the years by many talented and committed volunteers. See a list of past JCHS presidents.

JCHS Awards
JCHS has recognized the achievements of individuals, organizations and institutions that have help preserve, interpret and share the history of Jackson County. See a list of past winners.