Back in August, NHS Executive Director, Hayes Scriven presented a funding proposal to the Northfield City Council that would expand and formalize services NHS is providing to the City and the Northfield Community, in addition to funding future services. The reasons for the ask were many, but revolved around a few key aspects.
- The City of Northfield transferred ownership of most of its historical books, video and audio tapes. The reason for the transfer was that the City had laserfiched all of its motions and ordinances and satisfied their statutory requirement for records retention.
If NHS were to not take and examine them to decide their historic relevance they would have been destroyed. When any organization digitizes records the next question is, do you destroy the original? According to state statue, after the City digitizes the record, the permanent copy is considered the digital copy. However, according to the National Archives:
You may want to digitize your photographs (documents) because it offers safe and easy access to the images in your collection. Once your photographs (documents) have been scanned, you can view them in electronic form and even make hard copies without risking damage to the originals. Do not throw away your original film and other print media after you digitize them. Digitized images are not considered a replacement for originals. Data (i.e. your images) can be lost when the storage media deteriorates; and software and hardware technology become rapidly obsolete, in some cases making retrieval of the images difficult if not impossible.
At NHS we adopt this same practice of not destroying the original copies of artifacts after scanning them. Even though we have digitized an artifact, we do not destroy the
original. Even if that means taking up more space in our storage facility. We have found even after digitizing and making the digital copy accessible, patrons still want to see the original file.
The other part of the City donation was hand written ledger books. The majority of them were criminal court case documents dating from 1896-1971. There were other gems in the donation including a ledger book from the Northfield Light and Power Company (Northfield first power company), a Attendance Role call book for Company K, 4th Infantry from 1898, and building plans for many of the historic buildings in town (including both colleges and the hospital). If NHS did not take these other items on they would be lost forever as they were not digitized.
This major transfer from the City does not include the transfers we have received from the Public Library (over many years) or the pending transfer from the Northfield Fire Depart of their historical artifacts that date back to the late 1870s.
- NHS is willing to also lend assistance to the City of Northfield with the Heritage Preservation Commission and other City Departments. Over the past few years, NHS has been contacted by many departments for assistance with historical research. These requests over the past few years have increased in frequency. NHS is willing to conduct the research as we have the resources to perform the task, but we are limited by our staffing.
The other intention of the ask was to start the conversation with the City of Northfield on formalizing an agreement of services and to take care of the collection at the highest professional standard possible. NHS would like to become the official City Archive for its historical materials. With this we know NHS would become the center for all research requests from community members, tourists and City staff.
Funding of the NHS at the level of OPTION A (39,656) in the attached document will provide all of these services at the highest professional standard in regards to document preservation and access. NHS will be able to hire staff at a level that will get this done in the most timely and efficient manner.
Preserving history should be viewed as a forever. If NHS can preserve Northfield history at the highest and efficient manner, it will be around forever. This funding request is a great step in that direction.
Email a letter of support to all Northfield City Council Members here
Alex Beeby letter of support for NHS funding, Northfield News
Martha Davies letter of support for NHS, Northfield News