For Dedication and Commitment to the Interpretation of Wake Forest History
The Wake Forest College Birthplace Society was founded in 1956 as the Calvin Jones Memorial Association for the purpose of saving the Dr. Calvin Jones House, birthplace of today’s Wake Forest University, from being torn down to make way for a cafeteria. That same year, the fledgling organization successfully moved the house from the campus now occupied by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to the 400 block of North Main Street.
By 1960, the organization changed its name to the Wake Forest College Birthplace Society, Inc. in an effort to promote the history of Wake Forest College during the time it was located in northern Wake County from 1834 to 1956. The Society restored the historic house under the guidance of Dr. Christopher Crittenden, grandson of the College’s sixth president Charles E. Taylor and the Society’s first president. The group pressed forward with Crittenden’s goal of preserving the history of both the college and town of Wake Forest, and in 1976 opened a museum in the restored Calvin Jones House.
Over the next thirty years the collection of artifacts, photographs, archival materials, and memorabilia, expanded exponentially until it vastly outgrew the space available within the Jones House. In 2001, members of the Wake Forest Birthplace Society, Inc. conceived a plan to more effectively display and exhibit these treasures in a purpose-built museum building dedicated to the story of Wake Forest College as well as the town of Wake Forest as a whole. Opened in 2010, the new 7,000 square foot, three million dollar state of the art Wake Forest Historical Museum houses exhibit galleries, library and archives, auditorium and educational flex-space. The new museum receives over 7,000 visitors annually. Thanks to the work of the Birthplace Society in association with Wake Forest University and the Town of Wake Forest, visitors enjoy educational programming and tours every Tuesday through Friday and Sunday afternoons free of charge.
The opening of the museum building marks a new beginning for the Birthplace Society. This summer, the Calvin Jones House, the original object of the Society’s attention, underwent an exterior rehabilitation. Work continues on the interior, with an anticipated completion this fall. The work of collecting and interpreting continues non-stop.
The Board of Directors of Capital Area Preservation, Inc. is pleased to present a 2013 Anthemion Award to the Wake Forest College Birthplace Society, Inc. for Dedication and Commitment to the Interpretation of Wake Forest History.