Sunday, November 14, 2010
How Do You Put People in the Picture of Local History? 2 Smart Ideas
play's Facebook page. What a great idea to adapt to a local historical society exhibit--and it could mean that everyone with a favorite clothes memory could be included, not just those families who donated those wedding dresses.
Carol Kammen, the Tompkins County, NY historian, and a regular columnist for AASLH's History News, introduced me to a new initiative of the Tompkins County local historians (in New York, an appointed and largely unpaid position in municipal governments of all sizes) called House History. In this project, homeowners are encouraged to record the history of the house they live in on a brightly colored House Tag that can be stored in a front closet, near the electrical box, or in other easy-to-find location. A longer two page form collects additional information about the house and neighborhood and can be filed with the local historian's office.
Importantly, however, this project is not just for historic homes. The Tompkins County historians are encouraging all to participate and have already had submissions from owners of new homes, who welcome the idea of leaving a lasting record of their particular place. This project, like Love, Loss and What I Wore opens up the possibility of participation to everyone; and in both cases, thinks not only about the past, but about the future.
What else could a local history organization do to connect all of their community? If you've undertaken a project, please let me know!
Images, top to bottom: Norris family photo, drawing from Love, Loss and What I Wore audience member, and houses, both from FSA/OWI collection, Library of Congress.