This Year's Project: The Community Archives Project
Since its founding in 1971, the mission of the Gage County Historical Society has been to preserve, enhance, and showcase the unique history of Gage County by sharing our stories to develop appreciation throughout the wider community. As an organization, we are dedicated to sharing the stories of the past in meaningful ways that allow us to connect to history on a personal level.
Current Project: The Community Archives Project
The Community Archives Project is an effort to actively promote the telling, sharing, and preserving of our local history through documents and photographs collected by the community.
What is an archive, and why is it important?
An archive is a collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people. Archives are an important link to our past, and help us to understand our history. The documents and photographs contained in an archive provide information that connects us to the lives of people and places in our past. They tell stories. They also increase our sense of identity and understanding of cultures and communities around us.
The overall goal of this multi-phase project is to make archival material in the county accessible to a wider range of people, bring awareness to how institutional archives work, and support local history keepers by providing information about how to preserve and share their own history.
The archive at the Gage County Museum contains hundreds of photographs, photograph negatives, manuscripts, letters, diaries, court documents, business records, land records, and many other records that help tell the story of Gage County’s history. Unfortunately, only a fraction of the archive is easily accessible and available to the public.
Limited storage: Storage space is limited, which means archival material is stored in several locations throughout the museum. This makes it difficult to quickly find archival material when it is requested by a patron. Lack of space also limits the amount of archival material the museum can collect and preserve. Remodeling existing storage areas at the museum will allow easier access to archival material, and provide more storage space to expand the archive.
Digitization: Only a small portion of the archive has been digitized. Digitizing popular research material from the museum archive would allow online research and improve public access.
Increasing Awareness: Finding information in an archive can be overwhelming without guidance. Currently, the Museum’s archive does not have finding aids to help patrons easily find information within the archive. A more user-friendly archive would make the sharing of historic information easier. (And more fun!)
How your donation will help:
Our goal for this Big Give is to raise $6,000 to kick-start the fundraising effort for the Community Archives Project.
Donations will be used to:
- Cover the construction costs to remodel an existing archival storage area at the museum
- Purchase space-saving movable shelving for the archives
- Fund digitization efforts to make more of Gage County’s history available online
- Fund programs designed to help teach the community how to preserve, share, and appreciate our local history
The funds raised today with your generous support will be used as the foundation to start this project. All gifts are appreciated, whether large or small. Thank you for supporting our history!