The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

March 27, 2014

Preserving history one memory at a time

BLAKESBURG — Today when we want to learn something about the past, we tend to turn to the Internet for answers, but some history has yet to be recorded and can easily be lost to time. The Blakesburg Historical Preservation Society is working to make sure the town's history isn’t lost forever.

The society was started in the late 1990s and strived to preserve the history of the town. But as many nonprofit organizations experience, the society was not able to do as much as it felt was necessary. But in 2009, a group got together and determined to make the society all it can be, and this rejuvenation is still going on today.

“We decided it was important to pick it back up and spur on the activities of the society,” said Patty Roland, the president of the Blakesburg Historical Preservation Society.

Over the past year, renovations to the historical society museum included bringing the building up to electric codes, installing new heating and cooling units and bringing in display cases to display artifacts. Many people have started donating artifacts to the society, and these artifacts all have to be archived before they are displayed.

“We encourage people to bring in any artifacts from Blakesburg,” Roland said. “Our primary goal is to get things of interest from Blakeburg's history and catalog them and make sure they are secured here in the building.”

Aside from working on the museum, the society is working to make a website and archive. They are working with the library to scan and digitize many documents from the town's history to preserve and archive them. The society hopes that by archiving these documents, people will finally be able to research the town's history.

Part of the website will be a series called The Blakesburg Living History Project. The project will include video interviews of people who have lived in the town their whole lives and will show old and new photos of historical locations in the town. The aging population of the town has lifetimes of history in their memories that have not been documented or archived in any way.

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