Preserving eastern Washington’s rural heritage

Preserving eastern Washington’s rural heritage

Several public libraries in eastern Washington have been hard at work this year preserving local history with assistance from the State Library’s Washington Rural Heritage program.

Whitman County Library, based in Colfax, continues its countywide campaign to digitize the unique historical materials held by small museums and historical societies, local families, clubs, and other community organizations. In its tenth year, the Library’s program now features material from more than a dozen organizations and over 130 family photo collections. The Whitman County Heritage Collection has grown to be a true community digital archive. Be sure to visit the Library’s Facebook page for regular highlights from the collection.

Whitman County Library staffer Kathy Bucholtz is shown with Whitman County Superior Court Judge Gary Libey

At right, Whitman County Library staffer Kathy Bucholtz is shown with Whitman County Superior Court Judge Gary Libey. The Library recently printed 18 wrapped canvas reproductions of historic photos for display in Judge Libey’s courtroom.

Just north of Colfax, the Moran Prairie branch of Spokane County Library District recently embarked upon a project to document the history of Moran Prairie Grange #161, established in 1929.

Its collection of documents, photos, and cultural objects had been at risk in less-than-ideal storage conditions when local librarian Ree West suggested preserving this unique and relatively hidden collection through a digitization grant from the State Library.

As a result, a variety of documents illustrating recreation and social life at the grange, as well as the organization’s role in infrastructure development in south Spokane, will soon be available online through the Washington Rural Heritage website.

Learn more about this project by reading this Spokesman-Review article or visiting the project website at www.scld.org/community-shared-history-moran-prairie-grange-exhibit/.

Funded in part by the Institute for Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act. 

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