Founded in 1850, the Society stands as one of the oldest organizations of its kind in the Midwest and is a leader among heritage organizations in that region. We have won repeated recognition from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services for outstanding performance in all areas of museum operations. Our by-laws state clearly that we are dedicated to “the collection and preservation of the artifacts and documents which are significant to the history of Jefferson County.” To that end, we have continually become ever more active and involved in service our community.
In the past decade, we have restored the 1895 Madison Railroad Station and opened a new, million-dollar Heritage Center, which houses our Research Library, offices, permanent and changing displays, and storage facilities. Both buildings are open year-round, and visitors will find thousands of documents and books in the library and hundreds of artifacts, paintings, and other objects in our displays.
We maintain a full calendar of events as we serve our community with a special event, class, or exhibit literally every month of the year. We are very proud of our innovative Children’s Educational Programs, and recently expanded the role of our Museum Educator, JoAnne Spiller. Programs are presented either on site at the Heritage Center or in area schools: programs are all “hands-on” and have focused on the Underground Railroad, the one-room Hoosier schoolhouse, the hog and corn processing industries, or early steamboating and railroading. We also sponsor a Summer History Camp. Space is sometimes limited in these programs, and we urge you to call us well in advance of when you would like to schedule the activity.
The Society also sponsors an annual spring garden tour called “Madison in Bloom”, which has attracted the attention of national media, including USA Today. Madison always looks its loveliest in the spring, with tulips, dogwoods and redbuds filling the Historic District with color. The tour features six to eight private gardens which would not otherwise be available to the public, and is held annually on the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May. We have special rates for bus tours and will be happy to work with you in setting up overnight accommodations and meals.
I want to encourage you to join the Society in its efforts to save our heritage and serve our community. Every member is important to us, and members receive a wide array of benefits, including a newsletter, a discount in our museum shop, free admission to our facilities, and advance notice of many activities.
Thanks very much,