About Us

Our Board of Trustees, Staff and Volunteers

To make history come alive by collecting, preserving, and sharing the stories and artifacts of our region's past.


Our Board of Trustees, Staff and Volunteers

The Southern Oregon Historical Society is nonprofit 501c3 organization governed by its elected Board of Trustees, who act in accordance with SOHS bylaws and standard museum practices. The SOHS Board is supported by very limited part-time staff and hundreds of dedicated volunteers. Together, they keep the Library open, keep Hanley Farm running, and assist with programs, funding and outreach.


A Brief History

The Southern Oregon Historical Society (SOHS) was founded in 1946 by individuals who believed that a repository of local history was an essential component in their community. They wanted to honor those that had come before them and create a strong educational and research institution for generations to come.

Over the years, the Society also acquired and maintained the Beekman House, Beekman Bank, U.S. Hotel and Catholic Rectory in Jacksonville, and by preserving them helped to establish Jacksonville as a National Historic District.

SOHS built its collection, maintained its buildings and provided programs with support from the tax levy citizens passed in 1949 to fund historical societies throughout Jackson County.  Since July 2007, when historical levy taxes were absorbed into the County General Fund, SOHS and other groups endeavoring to preserve, protect and share our heritage have depended strictly on private funding. At this time, the City of Jacksonville maintains the old courthouse and owns the Beekman Bank and home. Jacksonville History, Inc. provides tours and events. Jackson County owns the U.S. Hotel.

The SOHS collection represents the pride and the pain of people who have lived in the Rogue Valley. We have baskets and tools from the earliest inhabitants. We have letters and journals from the first families who arrived in wagons and on foot. We have the tools they used to dig their gardens, and the clothing they wore when they did it. We have treasures that range from the tiniest of fleas to the fanciest of fire trucks. Although we currently cannot support museum space to display the collection, our online catalog provides images and information about many of our artifacts.

Southern Oregon Historical Society is proud to own many of paintings and sketches by Regina Dorland Robinson, including this one (1978.20.31). Our book about her is available, too.

In 1982, Mary Hanley bequeathed the Hanley Farm to SOHS. This 37-acre Century Farm, listed on the National Registry for Historic Places, provides a glimpse into agricultural life from pioneer days to the mid-20th century, in a tranquil and scenic setting.

Since its inception, the Southern Oregon Historical Society has collected, preserved and shared photographs and documents that reflect the lives of Rogue Valley residents. The Archives include many pioneer stories, but also those of later settlers, and of people born and raised in the Valley.

Find out more about the history of the Southern Oregon Historical Society