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Secondhand Newz

Preserving Is Calling

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Of the various roles that newspapers fill – to inform, enlighten and entertain, for instance – one of the most important to me is to record. Despite our product being printed on one of the lesser grades of paper known to man, when something is published in a newspaper it is generally well-preserved for future generations who might want or need to access it. It remains to be seen how well digital archives will stand the test of time, but I look forward to finding out.

I suppose it makes sense for someone whose job it is to record the weekly happenings in the community to also be interested in preserving information in general. (Yes, this also applies to physical things, but my hoarding tendencies are a topic for another time.)

During Lorn’s childhood, I found myself wanting to capture every cute thing he did or said (and I managed to record many of them!), and now I’m experiencing that again with our grandson. It’s an ongoing challenge.

Not everyone cares about preserving history, but thank goodness there are people who do. The Stone County Historical Society exists because of them, and because of them, countless people interested in researching their family tree are able to locate obituaries, cemeteries and other resources quite easily in many instances. The Historical Society’s Stone County Museum with its hundreds of exhibits offers visitors a glimpse of the past geared specifically to the local area.

The Historical Society will celebrate 50 years of preservation activity this Sunday with an Open House event including music, a slide show, special program, and tours of the museum. See a story on page 3 of this issue for more information.

You’ll hear about the people who met in February of 1972 to organize a historical society and the struggles to “get it off the ground.” I’ve been privileged to know many of the charter members and have been drawn to the work to which they were dedicated. To me, the past is worth preserving even if there are times I can’t figure out just why. After all, doesn’t it seem that we fail to learn any lessons from it?

I think preserving the photos and the handmade goods and the various other things we hold dear is a way to honor those who have gone before, those who suffered through tough times in order for us to have what we do today, and those who have paved the way to make our lives easier in many different ways.

The historical society had been going for more nearly 20 years before the dream of a museum came to fruition. An article in the most recent publication of Heritage of Stone, which is dedicated to outlining the group’s history, tells what a happy time that was. I hope those of us involved in carrying the organization into the next decades appreciate their hard work and devotion and do them justice.

There are not many charter members remaining, and the average age of the core group is a rather high number (illustrated by the fact that I’m the second youngest member at age 57), which gives concern for the future. Are there not more people of my generation drawn to preserving the past? One doesn’t have to be a borderline hoarder to be a valuable member of the Stone County Historical Society. We need other volunteers who can devote as few as three hours per month to our cause. All types of skills are needed and appreciated.

Anyone who thinks they might be interested in participating in meetings and program and/or working in the museum (which we are trying to expand), please consider attending Sunday’s event. I’d be happy to talk to anyone who can’t attend but is interested. My personal e-mail is lfreeze65@gmail.com and my phone number is 870-213-7207.

Help us “bridge the past and present for the future.”

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Lori Freeze is news editor of the Stone County Leader. Write to her at lori@stonecountyleader.com.

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