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  • 7 Feb 2024 2:47 PM | Anonymous
    More than a hundred guests from as far as Colorado and Georgia poured into the National Archives Museum for a fun and historic sports-themed sleepover during the first weekend in February. 

    Guests get ready to go to sleep in front of the Constitution, February 3, 2024. National Archives photo by Jenna Edwards.

    It was the first National Archives Sleepover hosted by Dr. Colleen Shogan since her swearing-in as Archivist of the United States in May 2023, and it was the first sleepover since February 2020, when the tradition was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    “Whether you play them or watch them, sports have helped shape America and they provide a connection to our past,” Shogan told guests during her welcome remarks. “We’ve got records about some of our greatest athletes and sports moments here at the Archives.” For this sports-themed sleepover, Shogan wore a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey.

    Jackie Robinson, alongside his wife Rachel, both portrayed by reenactors from Bright Star Theatre, engaged guests with his experience of becoming the first African American to play in the Major Leagues and to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. 

    Children asked the reenactors thoughtful questions about Robinson’s involvement in the civil rights movement. Other activities included a scavenger hunt, arts and crafts, historical trivia, and the opportunity to write a letter to the President of the United States. Guests of all ages loved posing for selfies and family photos as they explored the Rotunda after hours. 

    The National Archives has hosted sleepovers at the National Archives Museum since 2014. Children between the ages of 8 and 12 and their chaperones experience the rare opportunity to sleep beside the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights. The following morning, they are treated to a pancake breakfast served by the Archivist of the United States. 

    “It is fascinating to interact with [the founding] documents I have read about my entire life and never imagined I would get to experience in person,” said Paula Hopkins, who accompanied her daughter, Maci, and two granddaughters, Aaralyn and Everleigh. 

    Patrick Madden and Dr. Colleen Shogan flipped and served pancakes on Sunday morning. February 4, 2024. National Archives photo by Jenna Edwards.

    Another guest, Delencia Williams, hugged her son, Apollo, for one final photo moment before he made a beeline to the snack table. “I cannot believe I get to see Jackie Robinson, the Declaration of Independence, and National Treasure all in one night,” she said.

    Yes, you heard that correctly—the film National Treasure played in the William G. McGowan Theater, accompanied by popcorn served by Shogan. Alternatively, guests could retire to their sleeping bags in the Rotunda while the documents were being “put to sleep.” 

    “We got to hear the alarm!” brother and sister Navah and Yaron Schultz shared with palpable enthusiasm on Sunday morning. 

    “I was in the bathroom and missed it,” their mom, Talya, laughed. “This has been such an incredible experience.”

    Adults enjoyed coffee and a buffet breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and potatoes. Children lined up for plain, chocolate chip, and banana pancakes served (and flipped with style!) by Shogan and Patrick Madden, Director of the National Archives Foundation. After breakfast, guests visited the National Archives Store before departing at 9 a.m.

    “I didn’t realize the extent of what was planned. I appreciate the love and care that went into every detail of this event,” said Jessica Behrman, a National Archives at Denver employee who attended the Archives Sleepover with her daughter, Johanna.

    The next sleepover is scheduled for October 19–20, 2024. For more information and to register for future sleepovers, visit www.archivesfoundation.org/sleepover. Questions about the event should be directed to info@archivesfoundation.org.

    This National Archives Sleepover is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation.

  • 7 Feb 2024 12:20 PM | Anonymous

    Newspapers provide readers and researchers with incredible information on events, people, places, attitudes and opinions from the far to the recent past.

    The Society houses hard copies of local papers from the 19th and 20th centuries, but they are in fragile condition. Starting forty years ago the papers were filmed and microfilm copies were created. This microfilm is owned by and housed at the Rockville Public Library, where it is accessible for use only via a microfilm reader. As we move into the digital age, VHS, in cooperation with the Rockville Public Library, is scanning the microfilm to digital files that will be made available free  to everyone anytime from an online hosting source. Researchers, genealogists and students of the past will appreciate access to this rich archive.                                             

    Local papers selected for digitization:

    • Tolland County Journal:  1867-1884
    • Rockville Journal:   1885-1899 and 1911-1968
    • Rockville Leader:  1902, 1908, 1910, 1919-1964
    • Tri-Town Reporter:  1973-1984

    The Vernon Historical Society has employed professional archivist Nicole Besseghir as project manager to help guide us through the digitization process and facilitate work on  the project. She has extensive experience in both historic newspaper digitization and working with local history collections. Nicole is managing the project on VHS’s behalf, which includes advising the VHS director and newspaper committee on project steps and decisions, project planning, coordinating and communicating with vendors, preparing materials for digitization, working on quality review of the digital files and preparing them for upload to the database.

    Benefits of Newspaper Digitization

    The Tolland County area is underrepresented in the digitized newspapers that are currently available online. This project will bring more than 100 years of Tolland County newspapers and history online for the first time.

    Making historic newspapers available digitally vastly expands their accessibility, usability, and findability especially with functions to search for names of people and events over periods of time.

    Digitizing and viewing the newspapers on the computers also makes them easier to read than on microfilm and in print, since the computer allows users to zoom to better view the content. They can also save and print the articles.

    A wider range of audiences will be able to access and utilize the historic newspapers once they are digitized and online.

    The ability for the newspapers to be used in classrooms and in schoolwork will allow educators to incorporate them into their teaching and classroom activities.

    Now other cultural heritage institutions will be able to make use of the papers for their own work.

    Our Hosting Site

    Once digitized and reviewed, the newspapers will be loaded into an online database, the Connecticut Digital Archive (CDTA), where they can be viewed and searched by anyone. They can be found by utilizing an internet search engine and by directly visiting the database.

    CTDA is operated and maintained by the University of Connecticut as part of their Digital Preservation Repository Program. The database was created over a decade ago and the CTDA team continues to improve and meticulously manage the database and serve its members.

    Project Fund Raising

    To complete this project, we must raise $25,000. We have applied for a grant from a local bank foundation. However, we will need additional funds to reach our goal.

    To donate by mail, please send a check to the Vernon Historical Society, PO Box 2055, Vernon, CT 06066. Please write "Newspaper Project" on the memo line of the check.

    To Donate Online, go to https://www.paypal.com/donate/?campaign_id=AN4M85TVV9QDQ.


  • 7 Feb 2024 7:42 AM | Anonymous

    If you used and enjoyed Twitter, I will suggest you try BlueSky. It appears to be a much better product, much like the way Twitter used to operate, but better.. Here is a quote from BueSky’s announcement:

    After almost a year as an invite-only app, Bluesky is now open to the public. Funded by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Bluesky is one of the more promising micro-blogging platforms that could provide an alternative to Elon Musk's X (previously known a Twitter). Before opening to the public, the platform had about 3 million sign-ups. Now that anyone can join, the young platform faces a challenge: How can it meaningfully stand up to Threads' 130 million monthly active users, or even Mastodon's 1.8 million? 

    Bluesky looks and functions like Twitter at the outset, but the platform stands out because of what lies under the hood. The company began as a project inside of Twitter that sought to build a decentralized infrastructure called the AT Protocol for social networking. As a decentralized platform, Bluesky's code is completely open source, which gives people outside of the company transparency into what is being built and how. Developers can even write their own code on top of the AT Protocol, so they can create anything from a custom algorithm to an entirely new social platform. 

    "What decentralization gets you is the ability to try multiple things in parallel, and so you're not bottlenecking change on one organization," Bluesky CEO Jay Graber told TechCrunch. "The way we built Bluesky actually lets anyone insert a change into the product." This setup gives users more agency to control and curate their social media experience. On a centralized platform like Instagram, for example, users have revolted against algorithm changes that they dislike, but there's not much they can do to revert or improve upon an undesired app update.


  • 7 Feb 2024 7:17 AM | Anonymous

    Retired Marine Leander Holston had uncovered some interesting facts about his family. Using the genealogy website MyHeritage to build a family tree, he’d created an extensive database of relatives going back three generations on his father’s side. He learned about uncles he’d never met and discovered that the surname passed down to him by his father was only carried by a few of the men in his family.

    But when it came to researching his mother’s roots, Holston wasn’t having as much success. Drawing on census records, he identified his maternal grandmother, whose maiden name was Dixie Pearson. Though a man named John or Henry Pearson appeared to be her father, their birth dates weren’t quite lining up. He was born in the 1870s; Holston had expected his great-grandfather to be born a few decades earlier, closer to the 1850s. Despite his best efforts, he was stumped.

    Then, during a trip to Washington, D.C. for his wife’s birthday in August 2023, Holston visited the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), where he stumbled upon the Robert Frederick Smith Explore Your Family History Center. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, visitors can sign up for free, in-person group genealogy sessions hosted by the center’s staff and volunteers. Hourlong, one-on-one virtual sessions are also available, so when Holston returned home to Pineville, North Carolina, he decided to turn to the NMAAHC genealogy team for advice from afar.

    You can read more in an article by Tracy Scott Forson published in the Smithsonian web site at: http://tinyurl.com/3f7es7e7.

  • 6 Feb 2024 7:52 AM | Anonymous

    Marie Fraley, co-founder and former director of the Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies at Rhode Island College and former managing director of the Portuguese American Leadership Council of the United States, has donated $25,000 to the college to establish the Joseph George Ray Portuguese American Archives Endowed Fund. 

    Administered by the Rhode Island College Foundation and named in honor of Fraley’s father, the fund is designed to support the establishment of the Rhode Island Portuguese American Archives, housed in Special Collections at Adams Library.

    Specifically, the endowment will support the cataloging and preservation of the collection, sponsor internship and research opportunities for RIC students and support cultural events related to the collection.

    Clark Greene, interim executive director of the RIC Foundation, states, “We are so grateful for Marie’s gift and her continued support of Portuguese studies at Rhode Island College.”

    In addition to this generous donation, Fraley was the first to contribute to the archives. Among the items she’s donated are her father’s World War II medals and other insignia and his biography in book form, which embodies a legacy of Portuguese American life.

    You can read more in an article at: https://www.ric.edu/news-events/news/25k-endowment-support-new-ri-portuguese-american-archives-ric 


  • 6 Feb 2024 7:48 AM | Anonymous

    You're on vacation or at a tourist attraction and find one of those penny presses. How much fun is it to squish a penny into an instant souvenir? Insert your coins and turn the crank to squeeze and squash a penny into stretched-out oval with an embossed design.

    Now collectors of kitchy coins and touristy trinkets can easily find the locations of those coin-operated, hand cranked penny press machines while on a trip or right in your hometown. Enter a zip code and a search radius to get a list and map of the penny presses near you! (I was amazed to find over 30 different penny presses near me in Seattle.)

    The site also sells hard to find pressed pennies, collector albums and display stands.

  • 6 Feb 2024 7:23 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the Augusta Genealogical Society:

    Augusta Genealogical Society Augusta, Georgia Virtual Genealogical Program

    Saturday, 24 February 2024 11:00 am - 12:00 pm EST

    Registration deadline is 22 February 2024 at www.augustagensociety.org
    FREE to AGS members or $10 for nonmembers
    JOIN AGS NOW 
    and enjoy the benefits of several programs, which will be free to members in 2024.

    Limited seating to view the virtual presentation will be offered at Adamson Library. To reserve a seat, please call (706) 722-4073.

    Presenting

    Brian Sheffey
    IAAM Director for Family History

    A New Resource for African American Genealogical Research

    In this session, attendees will learn all the Center for Family History has to offer through its on-site exhibitions, reference library, research area, information kiosks, Story Booth, virtual consultations, genealogy programming, and more.

    Brian Sheffey is the Director of the Center for Family History at the International African American History Museum in Charleston, South Carolina. He is also the founder and host of “Genealogy Adventures,” which he presents with Donya Williams.

    His research areas have focused on the U.S. regions to the east of the Mississippi River, including the northern British American Colonies. He has a particular expertise in researching enslaved people and enslaved communities in the early British American colonial era.

    Brian is the author of two award-winning Amazon Top 10 selling genealogy books: Practical Genealogy: 50 Simple Steps to Research Your Diverse Family History and Family Tree Workbook: 30+ Step-by-Step Worksheets to Build Your Family History.

    page1image25358736 page1image25347920 page1image25347712 page1image25348336

    International African American Museum

  • 5 Feb 2024 8:46 AM | Anonymous

    The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center is pleased to announce that new materials from our generous partners at North Carolina Central University are now available for viewing and research purposes on DigitalNC! The materials consist of publications from historically Black Churches in and around Raleigh, Durham, Henderson and Oxford North Carolina, a handmade scrapbook consisting of newspaper clippings detailing Black law enforcement officers and agents in Durham and educational materials pertaining to The North Carolina Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers, Inc and the North Carolina Teachers Association. These materials give insight into Black life in the region. 

    Black-and-white image of a person posing on the front cover of a publication

    North Carolina Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers Inc. Bulletin, 1958

    The North Carolina Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers, Inc was founded in 1927 with the mission to improve student attendance rates, promote the overall health of students, lengthen the school year (NCpedia). Additionally local chapters raised money to buy land for schools, beautify campus grounds and to purchase musical instruments and other supplemental educational materials (NCpedia). In the 1950’s and 60’s local units garnered the support of radio and V ads along with a membership of over 300,000 participants to meet financial goals (NCpedia). The materials we have from the North Carolina Congress of Colored Parents and Teacher’s, Inc. are from the mid to late 1960’s. During this time education was still racially segregated by law. However, in 1969 the organization merged with it’s white counterparts and became known as the North Carolina Parent-Teacher’s Association. History of the north Carolina Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers Inc. was gathered from NCpedia.

    Black-and-white picture of a person smiling. North Carolina Teachers Association special edition publication, 1970

    We have publications for the North Carolina Teachers Association as well. The North Carolina Teachers Association serve African American educators across the state of North Carolina. The organization originated as early as 1881. Educators from across the state would meet annually at various schools for networking and skill sharing sessions. The organization eventually merged with its white counterparts in 1970 when racial segregation ended (NCpedia).

    You can read more in an article in the digitalnc.org web site at: http://tinyurl.com/3eyhfv7j.

  • 5 Feb 2024 8:41 AM | Anonymous

    If you have grown up with social media, chances are you have taken more photos in the last couple of decades than you will ever remember. When mobile phones suddenly became cameras too, social media turned into a community photo album, with memories kept online forever and ever. Or so we thought. 

    In 2019, MySpace lost 12 years’ worth of music and photos, affecting over 14 million artists and 50 million tracks. If Instagram or the entire internet suddenly disappeared, would you be able to access your precious memories? 

    We are living in a “digital dark age”, a term popularised by information and communication specialist Terry Kuny. Back in 1997, Kuny warned we were “moving into an era where much of what we know today, much of what is coded and written electronically, will be lost forever”. 

    He argued that, like monks from the Middle Ages who preserved books (and therefore, knowledge), we must preserve digital objects of today. Otherwise, future generations will be left with gaps in knowledge about our present-day lives.

    You can read more in an article in theconversation.com web site at: http://tinyurl.com/4ebcyast

  • 5 Feb 2024 8:36 AM | Anonymous

    The nation’s capital is home to key moments in Civil Rights history, and a new interactive map highlights the cultural, political, and social impact of those moments and the Black leaders that called D.C. home.

    Anita Cozart, director of the DC Office of Planning, told WTOP that the agency has been working on the project for a while.

    “We see it as our mission to help advance knowledge both for District residents but also the nation,” she said.

    Among the places featured on the map is the Lincoln Memorial, where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, and the Anacostia home of Frederick Douglass, now a national landmark.

    But there are also locations whose historic importance are less widely known — schools, shops and churches were activists lived, built community and fought for their rights, including the Truist Bank location on Massachusetts Avenue NW, near Union Station. The stately building was once a restaurant where, in 1949, civil rights activists held a sit-in protest that Cozart said helped desegregation efforts.

    You can read more in an article in the WTOP web site at: http://tinyurl.com/msvvtyr4.

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