For 50 years, the Medford Historical Society, located at the Kirby’s Mill Complex, has been working to capture, preserve and celebrate the history of one of New Jersey’s oldest towns. In doing so, the group has had many great accomplishments over the years and has raised funds through donations, memberships and events.
Now on the National and New Jersey Registers of Historic Sites, the society offers a museum that is available for tours and is home to several events throughout the year. Held annually, the renowned Apple Festival, Country Day at the Mill, Quilt Show and Art Exhibition all contribute to the site’s unique community presence.
Marking this anniversary, the society has taken on a major project it began in January. This project, designed to help preserve and safeguard the society’s records, involves scanning, storing and backing up thousands of documents and photos to the cloud. Thus far, a little more than 500 photos have already been added to the cloud, with more being uploaded each week.
Helping stimulate the community’s interest in local history, the new digital archive is available online at www.medfordhistory.zenfolio.com. Members of the community are encouraged to browse the new galleries, and if interested, they are also invited to assist in reviewing photos, uploading additional documents and photography and adding captions to this online collection.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary, the Historical Society also hosted a special event and dinner in March, has gotten commemorative mugs made, are giving away bookmarks and will be calling attention to this anniversary at upcoming events.
“In the next 50 years, we hope to continue increasing communication with the public and increasing the number of events we hold throughout the year,” 81-year-old Medford Historical Society President Bill Stauts, said. “We want to do whatever we can to educate the public, and, most importantly, the children of Medford.”
Stuats, who has been a member of the Historical Society for 25 years, recalls that much has changed throughout his time spent in the organization. For example, when he first joined in 1991, he recalls there being roughly 100 members. Today, the Historical Society has close to 280 members.
Also over the course of the past 25 years, the organization has continued to improve its community outreach and work on restoring both Kirby’s Mill and the James Still museum.
“My favorite part of being a member of the Historical Society has been being able to see people happy about what we do,” Stauts said. “It’s nice to see that people are enjoying themselves, and it’s a pleasure to be a part of it.”
The Medford Historical Society invites everyone to attend its upcoming meetings on the first Monday in September, October, November and December at 7:30 p.m. at the Friends Meeting House located at 14 Union St.