The Pioneer Historical Society (PHS) is a non profit 501 (c) 3 organization that resulted from the combining of two previous organizations - the Pioneer Historical Society and the Telfair Arts Association. Today, the mission of the resultant society is to sustain the interest of the county's citizens in the preservation of the county's history and to encourage interest in the arts. To achieve this mission, PHS has developed a strategic ten year plan. Major elements of the plan include the Telfair Museum of History, the National Register of Historic Places, Membership, Integration, the Arts including the Telfair Center for the Arts, and Publications.
The PHS was responsible for the initial restoration, maintenance, and management of the Old South Georgia Georgia (OSGC) Administrative Building which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The PHS relinquished ownership of the structure to the Telfair Library Board in 2006, and a second more extensive restoration was undertaken. When this restoration stalled, the society developed a "plan for use" and with the boards agreement in early 2010, the Society assumed responsibility for the operations and maintenance of the building. A rehabilitation was initiated to adapt the building as the Telfair Center for the Arts. This effort was awarded a Georgia Trust 2015 Award for "Excellence in Rehabilitation".
In 2007, on behalf of the County's Board of Commissioners, the PHS planned for and held Telfair's bicentennial. As a part of that effort, the Society established the Telfair County Bicentennial Museum. Now the Telfair Museum of History, the museum is located in the historic railroad depot in Helena. The society published "Telfair Trails," a driving tour highlighting the historic sites and structures of the county, and additionally established a "Walking Tour of Historic McRae". The PHS celebrates the county's establishment with an annual Founder's Day Celebration in historic Jacksonville as well as hosting events at the Telfair Museum of History. These events include openings of significant new displays or significant additions to existing displays and most recently an art exhibit of noted Georgia artists.
The Pioneer Historical Society meets the first Wednesday of each month at the Fairway Grill in the Little Ocmulgee State Park. Meetings begin at 11:30 am with a dutch lunch from the restaurant buffet. After lunch, around 12 noon, a short program of historical and/or artistic interest is given. This is followed by a short business session. The society also schedules visits to conveniently located sites of historical and/or artistic interest. Annual membership is $10 per person.
President - Robert Herndon; Vice President - Judy Ellington; Treasurer - Gwen Nelson; Secretary -Thomas Monroe; Rip Maneely - Director for Telfair Center for the Arts; Ann Murphy - Curator for Telfair Museum of History
Please contact us through our e-mail, [email protected].
Left: Old South Georgia College Administration Building
Below: Hand-painted Curtain In the auditorium of the Old South Georgia College Administration Building