Historical Society to Digitize Collections
Cape Elizabeth historians, history lovers and students soon will have town history available at the touch of a few keys. With a donation from Cape Elizabeth’s Sprague family, the Cape Elizabeth Historical Preservation Society recently acquired “PastPerfect,” a software program that digitizes museum and historical society collections. More than 9,500 libraries, museums and historical societies nationwide, and more than 60 organizations in Maine use the software, created in 1998. “The society extends its sincere thanks to the Sprague family. With this program we can integrate our archives – documents of all kinds – with photographs that have been, or will be, digitized and entered into the program,” CEHPS member Ellen VanFleet said. “The program also manages the whole array of objects in our collection – everything from artwork and posters to clothing, arrowheads, toolboxes and life preservers. The system will link the society’s digital assets to its catalog records, so “in one search we will be able to link our documents, photographs, objects and book collections as well as audio and video files,” Van Fleet said. “We will be able to search for items related to one person – for instance Pomeroy Jordan – or one family – for example, the Spragues – or a specific topic [such as] trolleys or hotels, or farms.” A simple search of “Goddard Mansion” in Cape Elizabeth would yield a rich variety of results: “photos and news articles and two objects – a piece of the marble cornice from the mansion and [Col. John] Goddard’s personal music book – and links to the Goddard family, including a framed family photograph as well as articles about the town’s efforts to preserve the mansion,” Van Fleet said. “By digitizing our town’s history, information will be at our fingertips – and yours, when we finally link records to a long planned website.” The society seeks volunteers with basic computer skills and “a curiosity about what is hidden in the society’s collections” to work on the project on Monday and Thursday mornings, Van Fleet, said. Call Van Fleet at 767-4175 for information about volunteering.