Remembering WWI: Sharing History/Preserving Memories

Photograph from the Fairfield Museum archives of Julius and Mary Halasz Wedding.

Photograph from the Fairfield Museum archives of Julius and Mary Halasz Wedding.

The Pequot Library and Fairfield Museum are partnering with the Connecticut State Library to host two public programs developed in conjunction with the State Library’s Remembering World War One: Sharing History/Preserving Memories project which commemorates the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I.

Do you have your grandfather’s WWI photo album tucked away in a closet? A stack of letters your great-grandmother kept in a box in the attic, posters from Washington, DC, or a story your neighbor told you about the local homecoming parade in the back of your mind? Area residents and their family, friends, and neighbors are asked to find World War One-related items that may be tucked away in drawers or trunks from around the world that will help the State Library tell the stories of the men and women of Connecticut today.

World War I Poster, from Pequot Library Association Special Collections, promoting Victory gardens, by National War Garden Commission, Washington, D. C., 1917.

World War I Poster, from Pequot Library Association Special Collections, promoting Victory gardens, by National War Garden Commission, Washington, D. C., 1917.

On Saturday, March 11, from 10-11 a.m. at Fairfield Museum and History Center, participants will learn how to best protect and preserve family photographs and letters at the preservation workshop, Preserving Your Family Treasures. During this workshop, program participants will learn how to protect and preserve their family collections of photographs, letters, and other related mementoes from preservation specialist Donia Conn. She will talk about the steps to take in order to preserve and save family treasures for generations to come. This workshop is made possible by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) to the Connecticut State Historical Records and Advisory Board (CT SHRAB).

This preservation workshop will run concurrent with Fairfield Digitization Day, which will take place on Saturday, March 25, from 11-3 at Pequot Library. Connecticut State Library staff will digitize old photos, documents, mementos, and other objects related to the war at home and abroad, which will then be added to the State Library’s online archive and be made accessible for public use. Digital images of these objects will be made available online and preserved in the Connecticut Digital Archive. Scanned and photographed pictures, letters, and souvenirs will be returned to participants the same day. Accepted photos and keepsakes are welcomed from men and women from around the world; the only prerequisites for inclusion in this project are that participants are Connecticut residents and that items are related to WWI. This digitization day has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.

Both programs are free and open to the public, thanks in large part to a Common Heritage grant to the State Library from the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information please visit ctinworldwar1.org.

Pequot Library’s Executive Director, Stephanie J. Coakley added, “By participating in the preservation workshop at Fairfield Museum and the digitization day at Pequot Library you are recognizing the contributions of the men and women who served their country during this great conflict while contributing to this important statewide initiative to preserve archival items of the period. The two programs also are an interesting intergenerational opportunity to learn more about your family in a real hands-on way.”

Pequot Library and Fairfield Museum and History Center will each organize exhibitions about World War I in the fall of 2017.

State Library

The Connecticut State Library is an Executive Branch agency of the State of Connecticut. The State Library provides a variety of library, information, archival, public records, museum, and administrative services to citizens of Connecticut, as well as the employees and officials of all three branches of State government. The Connecticut State Archives and the Museum of Connecticut History are components of the State Library.

National Endowment For The Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at neh.gov.

The Fairfield Museum, 370 Beach Road, offers rotating exhibitions, educational and cultural events and a Museum Shop. It is open daily from 10-4. For more information visit Fairfieldhistory.org.

Pequot Library is located at 720 Pequot Avenue, pequotlibrary.org. For information: 203-259-0346, ext. 15. Follow Pequot Library on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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