“There’s a lot of really great historical documentation out there that people don’t really want to give up yet,” said Dulce Kersting, the society’s director, citing an ancestor’s diary as an example. By digitizing material, researchers and genealogists have access to it. Historical societies benefit by not having to store an object in already limited space, she said.
People who have material scanned will be given a flash drive to take home. Some material may become a part of the Latah County Common Heritage Digital Collection, which will be made public in the future on the UI Library’s website, she said. Accepted materials will include family and personal photographs, journals, diaries, maps, scrapbooks, correspondence and objects that relate to life on the Palouse.
“This is definitely new territory for archives. In the past if they did not have the original document it was not good enough. Now they’re coming to terms with the fact that digital information is just as credible as original artifacts. For most people it is sufficient, so why not gather it,” Kersting said.
Another advantage of digitization is that the people who know the story behind the material can share it at the time of scanning and it can be saved, Kersting said.
The free event is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the 1912 Center. People are encouraged to call and arrange a 45-minute appointment time to avoid lines. Walk-ins are welcome. An archivist will be available to talk to people about how to best preserve their family artifacts. People can also consider donating their materials to the society or the UI’s Special Collections and Archives department.
The focus is on Latah County history for this event, Kersting said. In the future they hope to take scanners to rural communities like Troy and Bovill, which are in need of more documentation.
The project is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Appointments can be made online at www.latahcountyhistoricalsociety.org.
What: “Our Hills, Our History: A Community Scanning Event”
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 4
Where: 1912 Center, 412 E. Third St., Moscow