While many of you are aware that the Fenton has an enormous collection of documents and photographs, you may not realize that preserving these items and making them accessible to researchers and others requires the ability to scan and digitize them. Over the years, with limited time and limited equipment, employees and volunteers have done a yeoman’s job of trying to keep up with this project.
In the last two years, with grants and donations, we have been able to purchase a computer and three new scanners that are dedicated to preserving many of the documents and photographs that are in the collection. The Fenton has designated a room in the Hall House as the Scanning Lab. This room will not be used for any other activities allowing our staff and volunteers to set up projects in a space that will not be interrupted. There are four stations, and each will be dedicated to a specific project.
Our current group of volunteers work under the direction of Rick Roll and are Wayne Leamer, Cindy Dustin, Tom Goodwill and Brian Rapp and they are currently working on a number of projects. Our Director Jane Babinsky works with the group prioritizing the projects.
Our current top priority is a group of documents on loan from the Post Journal. They are “death files” that cover a time period from 1940 to 1999. Wayne Leamer has been the leader of this project. While it is nearly complete, a group of conventional photographic negatives remain to be scanned and then the entire collection will be returned to the Post Journal with a disc in the digital format.
One of our most used resources is the Henderson Lincoln Scrapbooks that contain obituaries from 1915 to 1967. These have become quite worn over time and we are concerned that they will only continue to degrade in condition. So, we have begun preparing these documents for scanning and will archive the originals when scanning is completed.
Tom Goodwill is working on cataloging every address in Jamestown complete with a photo when available, a major undertaking! He currently has over 27,300 photographs and will eventually make them available for research purposes for the Fenton. So, a researcher would use the folder of photos, find the address wanted, and click on the photo name to see a photo.
This is just a small sampling of what the Scanning Lab is working on. With the vast collection of documents and photos in our collection, the list of projects will only grow.