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Church offers suggestions on preserving documents

In the process of preparing for the 50th anniversary last fall, members of Wayside UCC found that founders took care to save pictures to share the story

Myrna Harrison
Myrna Harrison

of building the church in Federal Way—both the physical structure and the life of the congregation.
“We have scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, hand-written notes and letters, contracts, drawings—a wealth of original material for those interested in our history,” said Myrna Harrison, who is now working on the Wayside History Project.
The recent history was not as well documented, preserved or cared for.  Learning of the poor condition of some of the materials, she and others started the project to archive documents and photographs.
“At this point in the project, we are still taking inventory, carefully listing the items in the collection and making note of their condition,” she said.
The group of eight enjoys telling stories as they proceed.
“It is difficult to keep focus on the project, when we are distracted by the

Wayside History Project
Wayside History Project team includes one of the founders.

contents, such as an anonymous photo of people much younger than we are.  We try to figure out their names and then decide what to do with it,” said Harrison, adding that she hopes interest will continue through the summer. 
The group, with the advice of the Historical Society of Federal Way, is tackling the large project a little at a time.  They will inventory, index and protect the materials in archival quality sleeves, folders and boxes.  In addition, they are scanning the documents for permanent storage in digital form. 
Harrison outlined the process for reviewing items:  To select items, they ask: Is there a problem with it?  Is it interesting?  Is it important?
• If there is a problem, they correct it if possible—identifying the subject and date; removing staples and paper clips; taking it out of a sticky plastic sleeve or removing it from an acidic backing.
• If it is interesting, they photocopy it to display in a set of scrapbooks in our Memorial Lounge Library
• If it is important, they scan it for long-term electronic storage on gold CDs.
“We will organize the original media, store it in archival containers and prepare an index for future research,” Harrison said.
They also seek additional materials to fill gaps and plan to record stories of long-term members to add to the historical archives. 
In addition to the safe storage, the group will produce volumes for display in the Memorial Lounge library.
She said that “a generous donation” means funds are available to purchase the necessary archival quality supplies. 
The history project group meets second and fourth Tuesdays each month. 
Coordinators are Anne Vester, Lynn Ahlbeck and Myrna Harrison

For information, call 253-838-4986 or email


Copyright Pacific Northwest Conference News © June 2010


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