Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Local Historical Societies

A bit of editorializing (like, when does a blog not editorialize?) and a wish for the New Year.

Historical societies all over Los Angeles County suffer from lack of interest and funding. Often, the archives (if archives exist) are cared for by loving volunteers. Are they trained? Do they know how to handle old documents or ephemera? Do they know the best ways to store, file, retrieve, or make sense of the archives?

Not always. These people are hard-working saints, imho. With little or no access to professional training and no funding, they do the best they can.

If they're lucky, they have a home. I took this picture of Redondo Beach's Morrell House, a living history museum. Behind it is another historic Queen Anne House that holds most of the Redondo Beach Historical Society records. But many groups are not so lucky.

So my wish for the New Year is that we all support our local groups and societies that are trying desperately to save our history. They may have old records, donated clothes or furniture, with no safe place to protect such items. They may have turn-of-the-century newspapers that are crumbling--with no money to pay for scanning and preserving them, let alone indexing.

In some cases (Los Angeles itself, and Palos Verdes come to mind) the libraries create space for local history collections. But even here, extra funding is needed. So if you find yourself looking for some end-of-the-year worthies on which to bestow a tithe, look up your local historical society!

They need your help--and who better than you? If you're reading this blog, you do care about preserving and remembering the past.

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