Grants Allow Preservation of Artifacts for Digital Past

Article excerpt

Byline: Katherine Hamilton-Smith

Over the past year the Lake County Discovery Museum has received grants that have allowed the museum to digitize historic images and make them available on the Web. Currently, nearly 12,000 of the Museum's historic images are available at www.DigitalPast.org or on the museum's Web site at www.lakecountydiscoverymuseum.org.

The first grant, Educate and Automate Digital Imaging of Illinois History and Cultural Heritage, from the Illinois State Library, provided the opportunity to digitize all the postcards of Lake County locations in the Museum's Lake County History Archives. Many of these views are real photo postcards and show Lake County the way it was 100 years ago.

The Lake County History Archives also houses thousands of images from the Fort Sheridan U.S. Army base (1887-1993). The postcards and photographs in the collection depict life at the fort from the early 1900s through its closure in 1993. The Fort Sheridan Collection is used frequently for research, and the recent grants provided money to make 2,840 images available online. In addition to the images, 50 historic objects such as boots, trophies, uniforms, badges and weapons related to Fort Sheridan have also been digitized and are available online. Fifty historic objects such as boots, trophies, uniforms, badges and weapons related to Fort Sheridan have been digitized.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency in Springfield supported the museum's ongoing digitizing project with a grant to add images of Illinois places listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and of Illinois Main Street communities. …