Think about the stories of your parents, grandparents, or great grandparents that are now lost forever – their experiences living through world wars, the polio epidemic, or the Great Depression, or of immigrating to a strange new land. We may have small snippets of our family’s history – a few snapshots of people and places we do not recognize, letters home from the war, a tattered hand-made quilt – but the personal stories behind them that bring history to life may be gone.
The four-part series, Preserving Your Family’s Stories, is a collaborative effort between the Northfield Senior Center and the Northfield History Collaborative, a program of the Northfield Historical Society to present information and guide participants in the collection and celebration of their family’s life stories. Staff and volunteers from the Northfield, Rice County, and Minnesota Historical Societies and the Northfield Senior Center will lead the classes and provide individual assistance on each of the topics covered. Optional additional work sessions with the presenters will be available on the Saturday following each class. All classes will be held at the Northfield Senior Center. The cost for all four classes and the follow-up sessions is $50 for members of the Northfield Senior Center or the Northfield Historical Society, $60 for non-members. Individual sessions are $15/members, $20/ nonmembers.
Scanning and Annotating Photos
Saturday, March 2, 1:00 – 2:30 Computer Lab
Photographs tend to lie crammed in drawers and boxes unlabeled and forgotten until they are passed on to the next generation who receive them not knowing the stories those photos tell. These photos record our stories: the who, the where, the when – our lives are captured and the moments preserved. Scanning Family Photos will be a hands-on class showing how to scan photos of any size from small snapshots up to 8×10 inch photographs using the software included with Microsoft Windows Vista operating system. Canon scanners will be used controlled by Canon and Microsoft Vista software. Students should bring a USB flash drive to the class. Photo cropping will be demonstrated. Participants can bring a couple of pictures to be scanned and saved to their flash drive. There will be a limited discussion of the strategies available for organizing images stored on computers. This class will be taught by Jim Finholt, computer skills instructor at the Northfield Senior Center.
Caring for Your Family Treasures
Saturday, April 6, 1:00-2:30 Room 106
Is your grandmother’s wedding dress stored in a bag under the bed? Have you wondered what to do about the box of photos you inherited from your mother? Susan Garwood (Rice County Historical Society Executive Director) and Alicia Reuter (RCHS Administrative Assistant and Professional Archivist) will demonstrate techniques and tools for caring for and preserving your family photos, letters, diaries, textiles, and more. They will go from the most basic preservation, to the professional level of care that RCHS takes with their collection. Participants are encouraged to bring an item about which they would like advice.
Genealogy: Filling in your Family Tree
Saturday, May 4, 1:00-2:30 Computer Lab
Ariel Butler, from the Northfield Historical Society, will guide you through an exploration of the process of discovering your roots using the latest genealogy research software. Discover what made you who you are today, famous ancestors or maybe a few skeletons as you search out your family tree.
Recording Oral Histories
Saturday, May 18, 1:00-2:30 Room 106
Oral history is one of the most exciting tools available for collecting and preserving family history. It enables you to record the voices and life experiences of family members while they are still here to share them. In this workshop Ryan Barland of the Minnesota Historical Society will describe oral history – what it is and how to use it to record personal history. The workshop will feature information on the preparations, legal realities, ethics, and equipment necessary to do the job. The workshop will be highly flexible to cover any and all topics those in attendance have an interest in. Barland conducts oral history workshops throughout the state and has led projects documenting a wide variety of oral history topics.