John Marks, Curator of Collections and Exhibits
One aspect of the historical society is presenting exhibits and public programs. Another is serving as a repository for
history. People ask, “What do you do with all that stuff?” and the short answer
is, “Save it.” Geneva
When we accept a photo, a diary, or a Tarr’s Dairy milk bottle, we agree to preserve that item in perpetuity. We may not display an object or a photograph for years but it doesn’t diminish the importance of preserving it. When people do come looking for an image or piece of information, and reach a dead end, they may ask, “Why don’t you have it?!” Again with a short answer, “Because no one gave it to us.”
|One section of our collections storage area; this has items used at or produced by local factories.|
|This homemade panorama from the 1970s isn't sophisticated but it effectively documents a section of Seneca Street.|
The third step is for folks to donate stuff to us. Occasionally we purchase items at auctions, antique stores, or yard sales, but we don’t have the budget to pay for everything. We don’t have time to go door-to-door asking if people have things that we would like, and we don’t have authority to seize possessions in the name of the historical society (and that’s a good thing).
Given these three factors, it surprises me that we have as much material as we do. I’m reminded of this tenuous chain every time I can’t find something I want to know: the photo no one took, the name that wasn’t written on the back of a photo, the huge historical event that wasn’t mentioned in a dairy. If you have
history (defined as anything relating to ,
including current events), please consider sharing it with us. If your family
doesn’t have an interest in your history, we’re happy to preserve it; if they
do, we can make copies and leave the originals with you. If you don’t save
local and family history, now is the time to start –fifty years from now someone
will be glad you did. Geneva
Please call John Marks, curator of collections, at 789-5151, if you are interested in donating or loaning items to the historical society.