Jon Sexton, 26, who took over as director of the Records Center in April, got his masters degree in public history in London, studying at Egham, a small village just outside of London where the Magna Carta was signed in 1215.

When the Magna Carta, an English document that inspired the American Declaration of Independence, and is considered one of the greatest proclamations of freedom in human history, turned 800 years old in 2016, Jasper County's new director of the County Records Center, was there.
Jon Sexton, 26, who took over as director of the Records Center in April, got his masters degree in public history in London, studying at Egham, a small village just outside of London where the Magna Carta was signed in 1215.
“The Queen came so it was a very big deal, it was very cool.” Sexton said. “You hear about the Magna Carta, you talk about it, but actually seeing royalty come through the town and they clear the streets as the carriage is coming in and it was super-cool. There was a festival and everything else, it's neat to actually be there in person and not just hear about it.”
Sexton took over for Cheyenne Flotree, who served as director for a little more than a year in the wake of long-time director Steve Weldon's retirement.
He comes to Jasper County after working as an archivist at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, in Bentonville, Ark., where he worked to preserve old books and manuscripts, including maps.
He said those are skills that will come in handy at the Records Center.
“At Crystal Bridges, I worked in the archives, so I thought it was the right step to take,” Sexton said. “Preservation is my most hands-on, practical skill. I'm a trained historian. So I have my masters in history. I bring contextual history, in the sense that people a lot of time try to do research in a vacuum and you can't really do that, so I bring a lot of theoretical knowledge.”
Sexton said he has a couple of priorities as he gets settled into his new position.
“For me top priority is access,” Sexton said. “Obviously, right now, the tax documents have to get done first. But after that, I want to increase access to the public. I want them to be able to come in and not just think, I have something really specific I need to know to come in here. I want them to be able to come in here and enjoy what we have, that's an important thing to me.
“Second is preservation. Like the Carthage Press copies, some of the more historical works, we have a huge map collection and it needs a lot of care. So for me it's one of those deals where, when it's gone, it's gone. So you need to be able to keep it safe for future generations.”
He wants the public to realize the Records Center is here for the public.
“I'm the director at the Jasper County Records Center and a historian, I'm here for you,” Sexton said. “A lot of times people come in, and they want something, like a property card or obituary or something like that, and they always ask, every time, they ask, what do I owe you? You owe us nothing, this is for you, so I'd put myself out there that way. I'm here for you, I serve you all.”