Archival documents on display in local historical sites usually illicit nothing more than a passing glance from most visitors. These documents, though proudly displayed are usually an item overlooked in favor of a ‘bigger’ or ‘more’ interesting item like a Fresnel Lens or Temple finial. Though small, documents are far from insignificant. They are stories to be told and shared from our past. They link moments from our past and become a thread into the fabric of our community’s history. Family genealogy, community timelines, local lore all depend on these images or artifacts to complete the stories from our past and connect them to our present.
The next time you are looking at an old photo remember it may have a higher purpose. In an era where print is in decline, hardcover books replaced by nooks and ‘selfies’ now preserve the moment- it is these old images or artifacts that truly tell the story of us. In recent years Fairport Harbor celebrated its bicentennial (2012), Mentor celebrated its 5oth in 2013 and both Madison and Wickliffe marked 150 years in 2017. Next up Concord Township marches to its 200th in a mere four years.
If you are considering discarding that box full of old letters or documents belonging to a long lost Lake County community member, remember it has another home. Consider giving them to your local historical society. A big ‘telling’ story could be in there .