AUGUSTA — The Maine Historical Society, in partnership with the Maine State Library, soon will launch the first eight local history Web sites built by communities participating in the Maine Community Heritage Project.
The project is a new program that promotes collaboration among local schools, historical societies and public libraries through the exploration and celebration of local history. It is supported by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum & Library Services.
Teams from Bath, Farmington, Hampden, Islesboro, Lubec, New Portland, Presque Isle and Thomaston spent the past year researching the history of their communities, digitizing historical items, creating online exhibits and building Web sites that are part of the Maine Memory Network, www.mainememory.net, the Maine Historical Society’s nationally recognized statewide digital museum. The Web sites can be visited at www.mainememory.net/mchp.
“These communities have done a tremendous amount of work,” Steve Bromage, assistant director of the Maine Historical Society, said in a press release. “Their interest in local history served as the jumping-off point. From there, local partners — adults and students alike — shared time, knowledge, collections, technology skills, resources and expertise.”
Bangor, Biddeford, Blue Hill, Cumberland-North Yarmouth, Guilford, Hallowell, Lincoln and Scarborough have been selected to participate in the project during the July 2009-June 2010 year.
The Maine Historical Society received 28 applications to the program that were reviewed by a panel of librarians, educators and historians. Selection was based on applicants’ enthusiasm, commitment to local partnership and ability to complete the project, as well as the geographic, economic and social diversity of the applicant pool.
Teams will receive training and support from MHS staff and funds of up to $7,500 to support project activities. During the intensive one-year program, each local team will:
— Inventory local historical and cultural resources.
— Digitize 100-200 historic documents, photographs and artifacts from local collections and upload them to the Maine Memory Network.
— Write an illustrated online narrative that introduces key themes and topics in the history of the community.
— Create online exhibits that explore specific topics in local history.
— Create a new Web site within the Maine Memory Network that showcases and provides access to these resources. The 2009-2010 Web sites will be completed in June 2010.