It’s hard to believe that I am about halfway through my summer internship with the Preservation Society of Chapel Hill! I am really enjoying my time here including what I am learning and experiencing as well as the people I work with. I am also really looking forward to the month of July which is full of new experiences.
Since my last update I have continued to scan, label, and catalog photos. I have been primarily working with prints now, but also some negatives. Scanning prints is more time consuming than scanning slides as the regular scanner simply takes longer to process a picture than the slide scanner did. This has slowed down the number of images I can get done in a day, but I am still moving along. I have already scanned all print photos from the 1970s, 80s, and most of the 90s. Many of these printed photos are of events put on by the Preservation Society as well as of the Horace Williams House and other historical properties. I don’t know the exact number right now, but I estimate that I have cataloged over 2,200 pictures. I still have some photos from the 90s left and then I head into the 2000s! I hope to finish digitizing all of the photos on site and then put them onto discs by category for future reference.
Also left to do in July is my online exhibit. Ernest Dollar, the Executive Director, has helped me not only to identify some of the photos, but also to realize a theme from the pictures I’ve been scanning: the adaptive reuse of the Horace Williams House (as a home for the Preservation Society) as well as other historic homes (through house tours) in order to encourage appreciation for history and preservation. How the Horace Williams House has been used over time in order to help the Preservation Society preserve Chapel Hill is something that can be pieced together from the photographs of the many events and preservation efforts over the years. I plan to use these ideas in the online exhibit I am supposed to curate. The exact details are not ready yet, but it seems like my exhibit will be a part of the larger 40th Anniversary website that is being organized. I am excited to start preparing the exhibit and to learn more about curation from Ernie.
I am also looking forward to several other events in July including the Old-Fashioned Fourth of July event and our intern field trip to Bennett Place, Stagville, and Leigh Farm. I have never been to any of those sites so I am excited to visit new historical places.
Also coming up is our field work day at the Edward Kidder Graham House. This property is in dire need of restoration; however, the owner needs more money to continue. The owner is therefore trying to sell an adjacent lot in order to raise more money. We are going out in an effort to clean up the yard of the house to make the neighboring lot more appealing and to hopefully improve the perception of the house itself, as something worth saving. When we visited the house it was depressing to think of this piece of history just rotting away or being demolished, so I am looking forward to doing what I can to help protect it.
Until then, I will keep scanning!