Historic Endeavor Gets Mixed Reactions

Chris Faulknor, Editor
editor@boynegazette.com
(231) 582-2799

Boyne City Gazette Historian Edward May III has taken the first step towards ensuring that Boyne City’s history will not be forgotten. [private]

Boyne City Gazette Historian Edward May III carefully scans pictures at the Boyne District Library

Beginning in early December, May has been seen setting up shop in the Boyne District Library, carefully carrying in and setting up a laptop, and scanner.“Valuable history is squandered each time a photograph get wet or damaged,” said May.
Bearing this knowledge with a heavy heart, May is taking steps to correct this problem, one photo at a time.  Photos of Boyne City and the residents therein are carefully removed from their albums, scanned into the computer, and just as carefully replaced, all within minutes.

“The unique part of this system is that I don’t have to take anything from its place of origin, so it can be guaranteed that items will always be returned,” added May.
Once scanned, each photo is to be categorized based on location, contents, and people pictured, and placed into a searchable database.  “People will be able to type in ‘fireplace’ and every photo containing one will appear,” said May.  “Those very same photos will appear if searched, based on virtually anything within the photographs.”  These photos will be made available to the public free of charge.

“It is not our intention to make any money here,” said May.“We will gladly e-mail any photos, or place them on a USB device if provided with one, someone could even bring in a hard drive and get the entire archive.” 

The response to this endeavor has been mostly positive.  Boyne District Library Director Cliff Carey has voiced his support for this program, and his wishes to see it through.  “It seems like a good idea,” said Carey  “I’d like to see how it’s working in a few weeks, and go from there.” The Library has agreed to the scanning of all historic photos to be accessed by the public.
 
The next step is the Boyne City Historic Museum, connected to City Hall and hosting a plethora of old-time Boyne City photographs.  At their December 20th meeting, the Boyne City Historical Commission decided to do more research before allowing this practice.  “I would like to bring my equipment in and scan the pictures on-site, I don’t want to take anything away from you,” stated May to the seven-member board.

“We do have photo media rules.  We put those in place several years ago to protect us, and the pictures that we have because there were people coming in and wanting to make copies,” said Chair Michele Hewitt, “If we allow people to come in and scan them, they can give it to somebody else, and it could end up in a publication. This was our opportunity to make money as a museum, so our whole emphasis on this is that if there’s money to be made and there’s structure here, we want the control, because these are our archives. This is not a city museum.”

After a lengthy discussion, the board agreed to contact other museums in the area to determine how these matters are normally handled, and hold a special meeting in January of 2011 regarding this topic.  “I am surprised that a group such as the Historical Commission is not more excited that I am willing to not only see that their photos are preserved, but do it free of charge for access to the public,” added May.  “If there has to be a charge for the public to see the history of their city, I will not be a part of it.”

Historic Commission Audio Recording

The Boyne City Manager, Michael Cain, offered insight on where the process goes from here.  “We’re researching the true ownership of the museum back to its inception, and exactly where it falls,” said Cain.  “It’s our goal, just like it is yours (The Gazette’s) to get to the truth.”  Cain did confirm that the City of Boyne City budgets for and pays the utilities and expenses for the museum.  “I think a lot of good will come from this, when we find the truth.”
 
Despite difficulty, pictures continue to come in.  “Some bring them to the Library when I scan, some e-mail them,” stated May.  “People are welcome to drop photos off at the Boyne District Library or Boyne City Gazette office, e-mail them to edmay@boynegazette.com, or send an e-mail to make other arrangements.  “I would like to thank everyone who has contributed photos for ensuring that our history will not die with our elders, and that younger generations may know the unique history of this town we call Boyne City,” concluded May.[/private]

Related Articles