Gananoque Museum preserving history digitally

By: Jessica Munro, reporter for the Local Journalism Initiative

The 1000 Islands Museum of History has announced that work has begun on the Gananoque Archive Collection Project.

The current focus of the project is to make digital copies of the city’s history, including photographs and other archival material, in the hope that digitizing the collection will make it more accessible to the public.

“And also to preserve it for future generations so that there is a copy in case something happens to the physical environment,” said Zane Smith, coordinator of the civic collection at the 1000 Islands Museum of History.

The Gananoque museum received a grant through Library and Archives Canada’s Documentary Heritage Communities Program to create digital copies of the archival collection, such as documents and photographic material, to help preserve it for future generations to see and make. more accessible for today. .

Smith explained that they will retain virtually all the archival material the museum has, but this year the project focuses on 2D material such as photographs, postcards, letters and official documents, rather than books or multi-page documents at this current stage.

“This project is really important because there is a lot of archival material in the Gananoque Civic Collection and it hasn’t received much attention in the past,” Smith said.

“In recent years we have been improving preservation standards, but this project really helped us take a step forward in preserving that heritage and history documentary for future generations, which are the main functions of museums,” he added. .

The project started in early April, but the museum has just started digitization work.

“The initial phase of the project was to acquire all the necessary hardware,” said Smith, who explained that they did not have the proper scanners or computers in the storage facility to begin the process until recently.

The first months of the project were devoted to the physical preservation of some of the archival documents and their proper storage.

“We are now moving to the digitization side of the project,” Smith said.

The museum in just a couple of weeks has already digitized almost 200 pieces from the archival collection and is on track to finish the project by the end of next March.

Once the history of the city is preserved as digital copies, it will be used in different functions of the museum, including public programming and exhibitions.

Because the project is still relatively new, the museum does not know if the archived collection will be available for public access on a website this year, but the ultimate goal over the next several years is to make the collection accessible online in some way, to make it easier for the public to get involved with the history of the city.

“Instead of having all these archival items in storage and never seeing the light of day,” Smith said.

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