News and notes of the JCHA

JCHA Website Wins State Award

The Jackson County Historical Association (JCHA) website, jchaweb.org, has won this year’s Alabama Historical Association (AHA) Digital History Award for the state’s best online historical offering in its category (a site without dedicated full-time employees).

The website was designed and developed by Annette Norris Bradford and David Bradford, who also edit and publish The Jackson County Chronicles, the JCHA’s quarterly newsletter.

The Bradfords assumed responsibility for the JCHA’s publications four years ago when they retired from IBM where they each had 30 years of experience in developing online information and managing web projects.

They also taught communication and composition at Auburn University, NACC, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Rebecca Minder, chairperson of the 2020 AHA Digital History Award Committee, contacted the Jackson County Historical Association in February to inform the organization of the honor, but asked that the information not be shared until the annual meeting of the AHA in Florence, AL. That meeting has now been postponed until 2021.

Awards were made in two categories—the small project category (sites staffed with volunteers rather than full-time professional developers) and large projects (which includes sites maintained by institutions such as the Alabama Archives and larger libraries). The JCHA won in the small project category.

The criteria used to judge the JCHA site included whether the site presented information judged to be historically accurate, exhibited “superior design, navigation and innovation,” incorporated multiple media, and engaged the community through social media.

The JCHA website hosts several offerings related to the history of the county:

All 44 years of the Jackson County Chronicles: The issues were scanned with optical character recognition and are therefore searchable, making the Chronicles index an invaluable source of local history.

School Yearbooks: Over 150 yearbooks from Scottsboro and County schools are indexed and searchable by name.

Scripts, photos, and videos of the 2018 and 2019 Cedar Hill Cemetery strolls: The Bradfords, along with Julia Everett and Blake Wilhelm of NACC, staged the popular cemetery strolls and have documented them on the website.

The online interactive Walk Around the Square: The Walk Around the Square allows a user to click on a photograph depicting buildings surrounding the Jackson County square in Scottsboro and read the history of the structures, accompanied by historical photographs and anecdotes.

The Scottsboro Depot Museum website. This site-within-a-site offers an overview of the history and holdings of the Scottsboro Depot Museum and a history of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, the company that built the depot in 1861.

The jchaweb.org site received 6,700 visits in March and served 62,000 files to online users.