CAMDEN — Anyone wishing to view the Camden Heritage Museum’s offerings of old photographs, newspaper articles and genealogical materials will soon be able to do so online.
Officials with the N.C. Digital Heritage Center worked with Camden County Librarian Kim Perry and the Heritage Museum’s volunteer staff to digitize dozens of historical materials during an Aug. 31 visit to Camden, according to a press release.
The materials will be available online at the NC Digital Heritage Center’s website, www.DigitalNC.com, in 4-6 weeks, mostly likely by the end of October, said Sarah Hill, Dismal Swamp Canal Visitors Center director and a member of the Camden Tourism Authority.
The NC Digital Heritage Center is a statewide digitization and digital publishing program at the University of North Carolina’s Wilson Special Collections Library in Chapel Hill. The center works with libraries, archives, museums, historic sites and others to scan, describe, and publish historical materials online, which in turn increases access to its collections. The program is supported by the State Library of North Carolina with funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the UNC-Chapel Hill University Library.
Lisa Gregory, the Digital Heritage Center program coordinator, along with Ashlie Brewer, a digitization technician and Kristen Merryman, digital projects librarian, met with Perry and Camden Heritage Museum volunteers Brian Forehand, Alex Leary and Sandra Leary to scan historical materials at no charge to the county.
According to Hill, materials the group scanned included ledgers from stores in Camden dating back to the 1860s and 1870s, ledgers from the Camden Pecan Farm from 1910, county voter lists from the early 1900s, and a literacy test from the 1940s that was used to determine eligibility to vote.
The group also scanned family photographs that have been submitted to the museum and post cards from the 1890s of the Dismal Swamp Canal and the rebuilding of the canal’s locks.
“We are appreciative and excited to work with the NC Digital Heritage Center to provide greater access to Camden County’s heritage,” Forehand said in the release. “This is a wonderful resource for Camden County and for those interested in history or genealogy.”
Timothy Owens, state librarian, and Elaine Westbrooks, vice provost for University Libraries and university librarian at UNC-Chapel Hill, also visited the Camden Heritage Museum later in the day to celebrate Camden County becoming the 100th North Carolina county to partner with the NC Digital Heritage Center.
According to Hill, the Digital Heritage Center reached out to Camden officials in 2019 about getting county materials digitized. Those plans were put on hold, however, after the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020.
After Camden’s materials are fully loaded on the Digital Heritage Center’s site, visitors can view materials from all 100 North Carolina counties. Materials are categorized by county.
“We are just really excited to have Camden’s historical materials on the center’s website,” Hill said. “We’re also appreciative to them for reaching out to us. This is a great resource for anyone interested in history or genealogy.”
The Camden Heritage Museum and Historic Jail are open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for private/group tours by appointment. For more information, call (252)771-8333 or visit email@example.com.