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Who We Are

Mission & History

Our Mission

Located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the Adams County Historical Society (ACHS) preserves over three centuries of remarkable local history in one of our nation's most historic settings. ACHS educates and inspires the community about its past, present, and future.

The Society offers twenty-one hours per week of public operations utilizing paid and volunteer staff to serve researchers at its temporary headquarters, the Edmund Wolf House (1883) on the campus of the United Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg.

Our History

The origins of the Adams County Historical Society date to 1888 when a group of prominent citizens, including David Wills and Edward McPherson, came together to form a society for the preservation of our community's remarkable local history. For about a year, this early group held meetings and educational programs in Gettysburg. 

However, it wasn't until the mid-1930s when a second group of citizens came together to pick up where their predecessors in the 1880s had left off. In 1940, the group secured a charter of incorporation from the State of Pennsylvania, and the newly minted Adams County Historical Society began to collect materials in the basement of the Adams County Courthouse. Over the next 19 years, this space was converted into a small museum, library, and archives. 

In 1959, ACHS entered into a lease of Schmucker Hall (also known as "Old Dorm"), the oldest building on what is now the United Lutheran Seminary campus at Gettysburg. Completed in 1832, the structure was a major hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg and its aftermath, and continued to be used as a dormitory for Seminary students until the mid-1950s. In 1961, ACHS moved its holdings, now in excess of one million items, to Schmucker Hall, and occupied the building until 2011 when major restorations began on the structure in preparation for the opening of the Seminary Ridge Museum by a separate nonprofit entity in 2013. 

Since 2011, the temporary headquarters of the Adams County Historical Society has been located at the Edmund J. Wolf House, an 1883 structure on the southern edge of the United Lutheran Seminary Campus. Sadly, large portions of the Society's collections remain in storage at multiple off-site locations. Additionally, the Wolf House does not contain adequate room for exhibits, educational programming, group tours, or large classes. ACHS is actively working on a project to build a new facility that will allow us to properly house, care for, and interpret these priceless materials for generations to come.

Please consider joining the Adams County Historical Society today to help us save Adams County's remarkable story. 

Click HERE to view the ACHS Membership Brochure.

Click HERE to view the ACHS 2019 Annual Report.

ACHS is a proud member of the following organizations: 

Our Impact

© 2021 Adams County Historical Society