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Listen Up! Stories from the Northwest Corner

Monday, June 6th, 2016 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public | No Comments »


ListenUpLogoThe National Park Service turns 100 on August 25, 2016.  In honor of that centennial celebration, the Port Angeles Public Library—located right on the footsteps of Olympic National Park—recently interviewed a number of its patrons about their experiences visiting, living in, and working at national parks throughout the U.S.  These audio recordings are now accessible online at: http://sos.wa.gov/q/listenup.

We especially enjoyed ranger Dean Butterworth’s story of guiding troubled teens on a snowshoeing trip in Mount Rainier National Park: http://www.washingtonruralheritage.org/cdm/ref/collection/nols/id/4155.

This is the first of an ongoing series of oral histories projects planned by the Port Angeles Public Library. Their new program, Listen Up! Stories from the Northwest Corner will collect and archive a wide variety of stories from Clallam County residents. Inspired by StoryCorps, the interviews will be made available for listening through the North Olympic Heritage website—part of the Washington State Library’s Washington Rural Heritage program.

The North Olympic Library System is hosting a free listening party at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center on Tuesday, June 21, 7pm, at the Olympic National park Visitor Center, 3002 Mount Angeles Rd, Port Angeles. Stop by to hear locals recall their favorite National Park stories and memories!  And if you can’t make it, the recordings will also be available at the Visitor Center all summer long.

OCLC features Washington Rural Heritage maps and timelines

Friday, February 12th, 2016 Posted in Digital Collections, Uncategorized | No Comments »


The Washington Rural Heritage project was recently featured in a piece by OCLC—the company behind CONTENTdm.  The piece highlights our use of interactive maps, geo-referenced digital objects, and timelines, using free tools from Northwestern University’s Knight Labs. Read more here: http://www.oclc.org/en-US/news/announcements/2016/CONTENTdm-news-item-January-2016.html

New Deal-era Art Digitization at the Ellensburg Public Library

Thursday, February 11th, 2016 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public | No Comments »


Washington Rural Heritage staff hit the road recently to help the Ellensburg Public Library digitize unique works by New Deal-era artist Ernest R. Norling.

Known most widely for his important 1939 book on drawing, “Perspective Made Easy,” Norling also made a significant contribution to documenting Washington’s industry and history in the wake of the Great Depression. His murals depicting early pioneers, agricultural workers, Northwest logging crews, or CCC men at work, grace a great many public and private schools, buildings, and businesses throughout Washington. [Read an oral history interview with Norling by the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art here].

2016-01_ellensburgPL1_blogTo digitize oversize works like Norling’s, Washington State Library staff set up a mobile studio of sorts in the Ellensburg Public Library’s archives and local history collections space (the Library stores and preserves works owned by the City of Ellensburg and the Ellensburg Art Commission). We used a field camera along with a large format lens and digital “scan back,” tethered to a laptop, as shown in the photo at left. The result is a high-resolution, reproduction-quality image of Norling’s painting. It will be digitally preserved by the Washington State Library, and a lower-resolution “access” copy will be made viewable to the general public. The digital photography equipment used for this project has also been used extensively to digitize three-dimensional art work, as well as objects and artifacts held by cultural organizations throughout the state.

Norling’s work, along with a large portion of the City of Ellensburg’s art collection, will appear online this spring, as part of the larger Ellensburg Heritage Collection. Staff at the Ellensburg Public Library are performing the bulk of art digitization and description on their own, with a 2015-2016 Washington Rural Heritage grant.

Washington Rural Heritage is a statewide digitization program, serving Washington’s public and tribal libraries as well as their institutional partners (museums, historical societies, etc.). Library Services and Technology Act funding for the program comes from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. A new Washington Rural Heritage competitive grant opportunity will be available for libraries by early March. Those with questions or project proposal ideas are encouraged to contact Evan Robb, Digital Repository Librarian, at 360-704-5228, or evan.robb@sos.wa.gov.

A Century of Stewardship — the Nesset Family Farm Collection

Thursday, December 31st, 2015 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public | No Comments »


aliceNessetThe Washington Rural Heritage Program is pleased to announce a new digital collection from the Deming Library (Whatcom County Library System). The Nesset Family Farm Collection tells the story of a Norwegian immigrant homesteaders who settled on the South Fork Nooksack River in 1902, and for decades worked tirelessly to coax a living from the land, raise five children, and run a small dairy. In the meantime, they documented the many pleasures of settler life in the South Fork, including hiking and skiing on Mount Baker, and fishing on the Nooksack River.

The collection, along with an interactive timeline, can be viewed at: http://www.washingtonruralheritage.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/mtbaker

The Nesset homestead is no longer a working farm, but the land and many of its historical buildings have been preserved by successive generations of Nessets as well as the Nesset Farm Trust. Today, the farm is considered one of the best remaining examples of an intact agricultural homestead in Western Washington. Many of the original buildings, including the farmhouse and barn, are being renovated as of this writing (2015) and will be open to the public when Whatcom County’s newly established South Fork Park is completed.

Tom_Nesset_in_cedar_dugout_canoe_South_Fork_Nooksack_River_circa_1920The Nesset Family Farm Collection is just one part of the Deming Library’s Mount Baker Foothills Collection—a locally-managed digital initiative which promises to bring together a wealth of unique historical materials and make them freely available online.

Digitization in 2014-2015 was accomplished with a grant award from the Washington State Library, funded by the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Washington public and tribal libraries will be eligible for our next round of digitization grants to be announced in early 2016. Questions about the grant opportunity should be directed to Evan Robb, Digital Repository Librarian, evan.robb@sos.wa.gov, (360) 704-5228.

Washington Rural Heritage Volunteer Recognized for Excellence

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections | No Comments »


whitmanWandaAldermanPattiCammack

Wanda Alderman (right), standing with Whitman County Library’s Patti Cammack.

Wanda Alderman, Friend and volunteer for Whitman County Library recently received an Outstanding Volunteer Award from The Washington State Genealogical Society recognizing her efforts to preserve important historic images and records for a number of agencies and projects including Washington Rural Heritage, the State Library’s  local history digitization program.

Volunteering for the library for nearly 7 years, Wanda has been the public face of the local project, tracking down hidden collections, interviewing contributors, documenting critical cataloging information, and providing community programs. Thanks in large part to Wanda’s efforts, Whitman County’s Rural Heritage collection contains nearly 4000 images and averages 4000 site visits per month.

Additionally, Wanda has volunteered for Find a Grave for 14 years, served as Bethel Cemetery secretary/treasurer for 10 years, transcribes records for Washington State Digital Archives, donates time and resources to the St. John Historical Society, and keeps scrapbooks for her alma mater Steptoe school.

Wanda is shown here, with Whitman County Library’s Rural Heritage project manager, Patti Cammack at a public program and open house this July promoting the digital collection. These two are truly leaders in the community digitization field, having digitized materials from more than a dozen partner institutions in Eastern Washington and more than 100 previously inaccessible family collections.  Thank you Wanda and Patti for championing our common heritage!

New Digital Collection: Medical Lake Heritage

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections | No Comments »


Large format photography, Medical Lake Library, 2015. Scanning a men's wool bathing suit.A new digital collection from our Washington Rural Heritage program tells the story of Medical Lake—the inland Northwest’s first destination resort and spa community.  This collection of historical documents, photos, and cultural objects was digitized in 2014-2015 by the Medical Lake Library (Spokane County Library District) in partnership with the Medical Lake Historical Society.

Located 15 miles southwest of Spokane, Washington, Medical Lake was once lauded for its curative properties. The lake’s mineral waters were said to provide a cure for everything from “rheumatism” to “kidney complaints” to “skin diseases.” In the late 1800s and early 1900s, a bustling enterprise developed around the lake. Visitors came from far and wide, and an electric train connected the town to Spokane for a period. Medical Lake boasted several hotels, lakeside resorts, and a sanitarium that pumped lake water directly into its baths. In addition, the lake’s minerals were extracted and sold throughout the United States in the form of salts, tablets, soap, an ointment, and even a porous plaster. The water itself was bottled for export.

While the lake’s heyday was relatively brief, it helped firmly establish the town of Medical Lake, and its legacy and local historical interest endures.

Learn more about the history of Medical Lake at HistoryLink: Medical Lake: The Inland Empire’s First Spa.

Highlights from the collectionblog_boom include:

  • The Story of Medical Lake, a 1972 souvenir edition of the Cheney Free Press celebrating 100 years of Medical Lake history. This special edition constitutes an excellent local history of the area, providing profiles of early citizens, businesses, organizations, and community events.
  • Early newspapers from Medical Lake, including the Medical Lake Ledger and Medical Lake Enterprise.
  • Objects and artifacts from the Medical Lake Historical Society, including products incorporating mineral salts and extracts.

Congratulations to the Spokane County Library District for making this unique collection widely accessible for researchers, students, and the general public!

imls-logo-2c.jpgWashington Rural Heritage is supported with Library Services and Technology Act funding provided by the federal Institute for Museum and Library Services. To learn more about participating in Washington Rural Heritage, contact Evan Robb, Digital Repository Librarian at evan.robb@sos.wa.gov.

Digitization grants awarded for Washington Rural Heritage, 2015-2016

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, Uncategorized | No Comments »


nesset0059Congratulations to the latest group of public libraries and heritage organizations recently awarded digitization grant through the Washington Rural Heritage program!

Over the next year Washington State Library staff will be working with these organizations to digitize unique, historically significant materials held in their collections. Awardees will be trained in all aspects of digitization, and their collections will be publicly hosted and digitally preserved through the Washington Rural Heritage website and digital repository.

The statewide digital collection currently provides access to photographs, documents, audio and video recordings, and digitized cultural objects from more than 100 Washington institutions. In addition, the project includes more than 300 family photo collections, making these previously inaccessible materials available freely to the public.

Below are this year’s grant recipients. To read about the details of each project, go to: http://www.sos.wa.gov/q/2015WRHAwards.

  • $5,000 – Asotin County Library in partnership with the Asotin County Museum.
  • $2,141 – Ellensburg Public Library.
  • $4,259 – Kettle Falls Public Library, Libraries of Stevens County.
  • $5,000 – La Conner Regional Library District, in partnership with the Museum of Northwest Art (MoNA) and Western Washington University Libraries, Special Collections.
  • $5,000 – Port Angeles Public Library, North Olympic Library System, in partnership with the Clallam County Genealogical Society.
  • $3,600 – Whitman County Library, in partnership with the Colfax Fire Department, Town of Farmington, and Washington State University Manuscripts, Archives & Special Collections.

To learn more about participating in Washington Rural Heritage, contact Evan Robb, Digital Repository Librarian at evan.robb@sos.wa.gov.

imls-logo-2c.jpgWashington Rural Heritage is supported with Library Services and Technology Act funding provided by the federal Institute for Museum and Library Services.

Medical Lake Heritage project featured in Cheney Free Press

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 Posted in Digital Collections | No Comments »


A June 18, 2015 article in the Cheney Free Press highlights the exciting new digitization project from the Medical Lake Library, Spokane County Library District. View the article here.

New Digital Collection: Colville National Forest

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, Grants and Funding | No Comments »


The Washington Rural Heritage project recently went live with a new digital collection from the northeast corner of our state. The Colville National Forest Collection provides access to a sampling of the archival photos, maps, and documents held by the Heritage Department at Colville National Forest Headquarters in Stevens County.

Of particular note are the photos of fire lookouts that once dotted the mountaintops of the Kettle River and Selkirk Mountain Ranges. These photos have been geo-referenced and placed on a “Story Map” so that users can fly from peak to peak, getting a glimpse of the varied lookout tower styles  as well as truly stunning panoramic photographs taken from the lookouts themselves—once important tools to the fire spotters that occupied the lookouts. Because most of these photos were produced by the U.S. Federal Government, they are in the public domain.

The collection represents a collaborative digitization project undertaken in 2014-2015 by the Colville National Forest and Libraries of Stevens County. According to Colville National Forest spokesman, Franklin Pemberton, “We love the idea of people having access to [the documents] – for research or for student projects. They capture the heritage of Northeast Washington before photos were widely available to average citizens.”

The Washington Rural Heritage project serves public and tribal libraries throughout Washington, as well as partnering organizations such as museums, local government, and schools. Headquartered at the Washington State Library (Office of the Secretary of State), the project is supported with Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding provided by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. The project’s 2015-2016 digitization grant cycle is currently accepting applications from eligible insitutions. To find out how your organization can participate in this statewide digitization initiative, please contact Digital Repository Librarian Evan Robb at evan.robb@sos.wa.gov.

 

2014-2015 Washington Rural Heritage grants awarded

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, Grants and Funding | No Comments »


Harry Sutherland, pole vaulting at Eastsound, WA, May, 1915. From the Orcas Island Historical Museum, James T. Geoghegan Collection.

Harry Sutherland, pole vaulting at Eastsound, WA, May, 1915. From the Orcas Island Historical Museum, James T. Geoghegan Collection.

Congratulations to the latest group of Washington libraries and museum receiving 2014-2015 LSTA grant awards through the Washington Rural Heritage initiative!

A total of 16 Washington institutions (including eight public libraries administering the sub-grants) will collaborate to digitize historically significant primary sources over the next year. Those institutions are:

  • Columbia County Rural Library District, in partnership with the Blue Mountain Heritage Society and the Dayton Historic Depot.
  • Deming Library (Whatcom County Library System), in partnership with the Nesset Family Trust.
  • Kettle Falls Public Library (Libraries of Stevens County), in partnership with Colville National Forest.
  • Medical Lake Library (Spokane County Library District), in partnership with the Medical Lake Historical Society.
  • Orcas Island Public Library, in partnership with the Orcas Island Historical Museum.
  • Puyallup Public Library.
  • Roslyn Public Library, in partnership with the Roslyn Museum.
  • Whitman County Library, in partnership with the Staley Museum.

Click here to learn more about each specific grant award and digitization project.

Libraries currently participating in grant-funded digitization projects this year (FY 2013) are busy wrapping up their new collections as of this writing. Look for announcements here as new projects come online.

Funds for Washington Rural Heritage are made available by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. For more information, contact Evan Robb, Project Manager, (360) 704-5228.