The Augusta County Historical Society was founded in 1964. It adopted a constitution and by-laws and elected officers, including a board of directors. Membership was open to persons interested in the history and genealogy of Augusta County, Staunton, and Waynesboro, Virginia.
The mission of the Augusta County Historical Society is to study, collect, preserve, publish, educate about, and promote the history of Augusta County and its communities. The society also strives to make the citizens of Augusta County aware of their heritage.
The Society is located in a restored late 19th century railroad hotel known as the R. R. Smith Center for History and Art.
The work of the society includes educational outreach, operating an archives and library for preservation and research use, supporting the creation of historic districts, documenting cemeteries, erecting historic highway markers, documenting local landmarks, creating historical exhibits, and publishing items of historical interest.
In 1964 it began publishing the Augusta Historical Bulletin, a journal appearing at first twice a year and more recently in a larger, indexed annual volume. The large Society archives contain public and private records, photographs and a limited number of artifacts from the 18th to the 20th century. The Society continues to receive gifts of manuscripts and rare books for its collection. Volunteer archivists care for the collection.
R.R. Smith Center, Staunton, VirginiaSociety members have helped update surveys of historic Augusta County buildings and photograph them to record their condition. Other projects included recording epitaphs, providing information about local genealogical researchers to persons interested in local and family history, supporting the publication of local history books, indexing fifty volumes of the Society bulletin, honoring people who contributed notably to local history, and recognizing student and teacher achievement in history in the schools.
Most recently, the society has sponsored an annual banquet and fundraiser, historical tours in the U.S. and abroad of significance to Augusta County history, and publishes a newsletter, Augusta Annals.