Founded in 1942, the Birmingham Historical Society led the forefront of historical preservation and education within Jefferson County. The society faded and by the 1970s, became dormant until 1975 when it reformed as the Birmingham-Jefferson Historical Society. This reorganization took place at the Birmingham Public Library and subsequent meetings led to the organization growing to 300 members within the first year.
The Birmingham-Jefferson Historical Society became the Jefferson County Historical Association (JCHA) in 2011 and works towards much of the same mission – preserving, education, and publicizing local history. Through quarterly meetings, the Jefferson Journal newsletter, and social media, the JCHA continues to attract local historians and those interested in historical preservation.
Some of the work of the JCHA includes placing history within the public sphere. Since 1992, the JCHA has erected over 20 historical markers throughout Jefferson County and sells over 10 books and publications written by local authors, including former Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett.
In 2003, the JCHA formed the Birmingham History Center to preserve the region’s fascinating history through a collection of historical artifacts and memorabilia. In January 2018, Vulcan Park & Museum announced a partnership with the Birmingham History Center to absorb and catalog the vast collection. The work of Vulcan Park & Museum ensures the continued preservation of the collection as well as the eventual establishment of a research depository.
The work of the JCHA in conjunction with partnerships and dedicated members carries on the legacy of the original Birmingham Historical Society. The JCHA welcomes all who are interested in joining as well as any recommendations for historical markers in Jefferson County.