Part of the collection at the Sound School House in Mount Desert. A grant from the Charles Butt Foundation will help area historical organizations plan to protect their collections and make them more accessible to the public. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRENDAN O’KEEFE

History trust study launched

MOUNT DESERT — Fifteen independent local organizations on Mount Desert Island that maintain historical collections are coming together in a partnership with Maine-based HistoryIT to survey and determine how local historical archives can be protected, cataloged, digitized and made more accessible for exploration and discovery by the public.

The result will be a plan for a history trust that would offer the ability to maintain independent collections while benefitting from collective preservation and digitization efforts. Libraries, historical societies, museums and other historical organizations throughout the region will be able to take part in the history trust.

Friends of Island History (FOIH), a collaborative umbrella of MDI-based collecting organizations, commissioned the yearlong planning study to discover how the cultural legacy of the region can be saved for future generations.

“Telling the collective story of MDI in a way that will be relevant for generations to come is essential to our community’s past, present and future,” said FOIH head Bill Horner.

HistoryIT, a leading digital history company, provides a new approach to making historical collections more accessible, discoverable and useful.

The following organizations have committed to take part in the study: the Abbe Museum, Bar Harbor Historical Society, College of the Atlantic, Great Cranberry Island Historical Society, Jesup Memorial Library, Maine Seacoast Mission, Mount Desert Island Historical Society, Northeast Harbor Library, Seal Cove Auto Museum, Swan’s Island Educational Society and Tremont Historical Society. In addition to these confirmed organizations, others are awaiting consideration and approval by their boards.

A gift from the Charles Butt Foundation is making the partnership and planning effort possible.

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