By Don Corey, President of the Bedford Historical Society
As the summer season fades away, it’s time to focus once again on ways that the Historical Society can best serve the Bedford community. Our immediate Past President, Jan van Steenwijk, did a great deal to promote this community outreach effort. I hope to expand and build on those outreach projects.
The following provides an update on several of the Society’s initiatives.
Over the summer the Society has acquired many more personal papers and other interesting family documents from descendants of the Lane, Page, Clark, Loomis and Dutton families, as well as assorted family papers that the Library deaccessioned as it moves to the digital age;
The Society has become proactive in acquiring objects and documents, offered online through EBay and other sites, that are relevant to Bedford’s history and/or that expand its holdings of various collections such as the town’s historic shoe and dairy industries;
The Town of Bedford has appointed an ad hoc Museum Study Committee to advise on how best to preserve and display its historic and cultural resources. The Society’s museum had to be closed in the 1990s to accommodate the Police Department’s move into the Stearns Memorial Building, and many of the artifacts have since been in storage. While the Historical Society has the most extensive collections of family, commercial, civic organization and other private objects, the Town also owns many interesting and valuable official public documents and other objects worthy of display. A recent Boston Globe article touched on the problems of many house museums. It is important differentiate between those single-focus museums and Bedford’s proposed museum that would span from prehistoric cultures which existed here following the last Ice Age to our current high tech world and would include a few permanent and many special exhibits that would be changed periodically. The displays would cover various themes of local interest, such as Bedford’s casino and wild animal farm a century ago, the town’s early involvement in social issues including women’s suffrage, temperance, care of brain-injured veterans, and many others;
In addition to a museum to physically display important historic and cultural resources, the Society has embarked on creating its own virtual museum. Many of the Lane family papers were scanned, transcribed, and provided with interpretive information several years ago and can be accessed on the Society’s website home page. Currently the Society is testing a site where many of its photographic images will be displayed and can be viewed by individuals anywhere in the world. That test site can also be accessed by a link on the Society’s website home page. We intend to expand on these initial efforts to provide increased access to the collections.
This article is brought to you courtesy of the Bedford Historical Society. The Society was founded in 1893 and exists today to preserve Bedford’s history. Learn more about the Society at its web page, www.bedfordmahistory.org or on its Facebook page. Visit the Historical Society in its archives in the Bedford Police Station. Contact the Society by email at [email protected] or call 781-275-7276 for hours or directions.