Preservation Week: Preserving History
This week we join the American Library Association in observing Preservation Week. Locally, we are working through the Pennsylvania Maple Festival – a time-honored Meyersdale tradition – to share with festival-goers a community history story we are proud to have discovered and preserved.
Preservation is a primary focus of our Pennsylvania Room. Thus we are enthusiastically embarking on a two-year project made possible through the recent award of a $5,000 Historical & Archival Records Care Grant funded by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. This grant will allow us to digitally preserve and share three local history collections within the Pennsylvania Power Library’s PA Photos and Documents archive.
Working in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Maple Festival, one of those collections will feature photographs of past festivals dating from the 1960s to the 1980s. The second collection is made possible by partnering with our friends at the Springs Historical Society, who have shared with us oral histories conducted following the 1998 tornadoes that struck our area. The final collection will feature digitized slides showcasing the history of our library, which many don’t realize dates back to 1938.
This week, however, our Pennsylvania Room’s focus will be on the local suffragist story we discovered in 2019 through the historical newspaper preservation project we’d undertaken. Look for our displays inside Maple Manor and the Western Maryland Railway Station, and watch for our float in this Saturday’s parade. All were created in honor of those women who worked for the vote over a century ago right here in Somerset County.
Each of these projects reflects why preservation is so very important. Without it, stories are lost. Lost stories result in lost history. The more of that we lose, the more we risk losing our humanity. Please join us as we strive to ensure all are preserved.
By Jennifer Hurl, Library Archivist