About JCHS



Services Provided by JCHS

Jefferson Museum of Art & History: JCHS has operated a museum in the landmark Port Townsend City Hall building since 1951. Permanent and temporary exhibits tell the story of Jefferson County from the earliest native peoples to the present day. Historic and contemporay art are featured in changing exhibits. The museum is open daily year-round, with the exception of January and February, when it is open weekends only.

Research Center: The archives of JCHS are available to scholars, students, genealogists, local governments, the media and others at the Research Center. The archives contain nearly half a million historic documents including newspapers, books, letters, maps, posters, programs, clippings, scrapbooks and more than 25,000 photographic images, one of the largest historic photograph collections in the State of Washington. Reference materials of the Jefferson County Genealogical Society are kept in the Research Center and JCGS volunteers assist the JCHS archivist in keeping the facility open to the public five days a week.

Rothschild House: The Rothschild House State Park is managed and staffed by JCHS. The 1868 Rothschild House provides a look at the life of the Rothschild family and the history of early Port Townsend commerce.

Olympic Peninsula Gateway Visitor Center: Beginning in 2008, JCHS took over management of the visitor center for Jefferson County and added museum exhibits indoors and outside.

Commanding Officer's Quarters: Beginning in 2009, JCHS took over management of Fort Worden's historic house museum at the head of Officer's Row.

Changing Exhibits: Temporary exhibitions such as Quilting Memories, Deep Roots: Jefferson County's Agricultural Past and Future, Fraternally Yours: Jefferson County's Early Benevolent Societies, Sin at Sea Level, and Rothschild Family Textiles are created throughout the year.

Lectures and Special Events: JCHS provides year-round educational lectures and programs including the First Friday Lecture Series, History Camp, West End Weekend and First Night.

Collections: More than 10,000 artifacts are professionally cared for and safely stored. Every year donors contribute hundreds of individual items.

Education Outreach: The Education Committee develops traveling trunk exhibits on specific local history topics. They are in great demand from local teachers and schools. Committee members also provide tour guides and in-class historic character re-enactors.

Scholarship: JCHS annually awards scholarships to deserving Jefferson County high school graduates with an interest in studying history at the college level.

Walking Tours: Talented JCHS volunteers provide regularly scheduled walking tours of both downtown and uptown historic districts seasonally and by special request.

Historic Property Survey: More than 1,000 historic structures have been inventoried and researched. Extensive information and photographs are available at the Research Center and online via the State of Washington's WISSARD search site.

Publications: JCHS publishes books, booklets, maps, and catalogs related to local history and museum exhibits.

Oral History Project: Members of this committee have interviewed Jefferson County residents, transcribed the interviews and published them in bound volumes. In the last several years histories have been collected on videotape and edited into components of museum exhibits.

Historic Restoration: JCHS assists local property owners by providing information vital to the restoration of their historic commercial and residential structures. More than $10 million worth of commercial restoration has been undertaken in the community in recent years with JCHS assistance, including the City Hall building, the Elks building, the Waterman Katz building the Fire Bell Tower and countless private homes. JCHS led efforts to restore the City Hall building and the Fire Bell Tower by securing over a million dollars in grant money and private donations.

Historic Preservation: To encourage and recognize local historic preservation efforts, JCHS presents annual awards to the most successful projects in Jefferson County.

Free Admission: Free museum admission is offered to Jefferson County residents on the first Saturday of every month. Free admission is offered to school groups from Jefferson County, as well as transportation cost reimbursement.

Tourism: The Museum, Rothschild House and Commanding Officer's Quarters are heritage attractions in the Port Townsend and Fort Worden Landmark National Historic Districts. The Olympic Peninsula Gateway Visitor Center provides travel resources and historical information to tourists.

Partnerships: JCHS partners with the Jefferson County Genealogical Society, the City of Port Townsend, Main Street, the Wooden Boat Foundation, the School of Wooden Boat Building, the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, Jefferson County Library, Port Townsend Library, Northwest Maritime Center, Chambers of Commerce, Rhododendron Festival, Brinnon Heritage Days, Quilcene Days, Uptown Street Fair, Hadlock Days Quilcene Historical Museum, Puget Sound Coast Artillery Museum and the Port Townsend Farmer's Market.