• David Jackson: Honors for those who helped the historical society

  • The Jackson County Historical Society held its annual membership awards dinner Jan. 10. This year, nearly 200 guests enjoyed the Armacost Museum as the venue.

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  • The Jackson County Historical Society held its annual membership awards dinner Jan. 10. This year, nearly 200 guests enjoyed the Armacost Museum as the venue.
    The Armacost Motors dealership was once located at 13th and Baltimore in Kansas City. The Armacost family enjoyed a long relationship with Studebaker, and the unique museum that celebrates the history of the American automobile includes 28 Studebakers from 1915-1964. Other cars range from a 1910 International to a Ferrari Testarossa. Also featured is an extensive collection of antique pedal cars, motorcycles, bicycles, automotive related art and a large collection of gas powered toys from cars to airplanes. The museum covers 44,000 square feet on two floors, and includes a vintage Skelly Gas Station, a re-created 1950s drive-in-diner, and a European bistro sidewalk cafe. The Museum, while not open to the general public, is available to select fundraising and charitable organizations.
    The Jackson County Historical Society and attendees expressed their deepest appreciation to their hosts as they presented annual historic preservation awards to individuals and organizations that helped to promote and protect local history in 2012.
    Two awards recognized dedicated volunteers of the nonprofit organization. Joanne Snow was awarded the Volunteer of the Year award for the Society’s volunteer at its museum, the 1859 Jail, Marshal’s Home and Museum. Joanne is one of several volunteers who help the museum remain open to the public during tourist season by staffing the front desk and greeting visitors.
    The Society’s Archives and Research Library is also supported by volunteers, and Jim Evans was recognized for his work to help preserve and make accessible archival documents. Evans’ main project is cataloging newspaper clippings for quick and easy access.
    The Society recognized documentary filmmaker and producer, Terence M. O’Malley, who previously received recognition from the Society in 2006 for his break-out documentary about his great aunt, Nell Donnelly Reed, called, “Nelly Don: A Stitch in Time.” O’Malley's latest, his third documentary, “Tom & Harry: The Boss and The President,” was awarded 2012 Historical Film of the Year. The information-packed video explores the complex relationship between two of Kansas City and Jackson County’s most notable historical figures: Tom Pendergast and Harry S Truman. The film offers a social history of Kansas City from the late 1800s to the 1940s, and is a political history lesson that may leave you comparing today's political jockeying with those of yesteryears.
    There are many outstanding local history books published each year. That’s the good news for readers who like to discover local history. The flip side of this? It’s hard for the Jackson County Historical Society to pick just one to be the recipient of the Historical Book of the Year award. Each book tells a different story and it’s hard to choose among the many stories.
    This year’s highlighted book is full of many stories. “Spirit of Kansas City: Stories of Service above Self” by Bruce Mathews and published by Kansas City Star Books, was given the Society’s 2011 award. Mathews collaborated with a host of community leaders who took a role in researching and writing the book recounting the life stories of past Kansas Citians who personified the concept of community service.
    Page 2 of 2 - You might know we are in the midst of celebrating the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War. It was 150 years ago this year, that the Civil War came to Jackson County when the first Battle of Independence raged through the Independence Square in August 1862. This last year, the Lone Jack Historical Society staged a re-enactment of the 1862 Battle of Lone Jack, complete with an all-out combat re-creation, and a candlelight tour of the Union and Confederate camps, where onlookers passing by in the night caught a glimpse of the terrible atrocities our Jackson County ancestors experienced when the North was pitted against the South.
    The Lone Jack Historical Society’s efforts were recognized by the Jackson County Historical Society with the 2012 Celebrating our Cultural Heritage Award.
    Its never too late to support local history and its preservation through membership in the Jackson County Historical Society. Visit jchs.org for more information.
    David W. Jackson is archives and education director of the Jackson County Historical Society.

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