The Research Center and its Collections
The Historical Society’s newest asset is located in a former commercial building at 9 Case Avenue. At this location one will find the Research Center, the Meeting Room and additional display area. The majority of the program meetings held by the Society take place in the Meeting Room.
Two sizable bequests made this fine facility a reality. Gifts from Mrs. Olga Gill and Mrs. Ruth McCrillis allowed for the purchase and renovation of this building. The Research Center section of the building was opened in 1988. Prior to this time there was a “library” crowded into a part of the museum basement. Later gifts made it possible to create and furnish a meeting room in the building.
The Research Center contains approximately 4,000 books pertaining to local, Ohio, and general American history and genealogy. The thrust of the Center is to concentrate on the history and genealogy of the Firelands area and the people who settled here. There are also files of local history manuscripts pertaining to local people and organizations. These are available to persons researching a specific facet of local history. One also can find early records from a few of the Firelands townships, towns, and institutions.
After moving in 1988 it was possible to better organize the Historical Society’s local photo and postcard collections. The latter includes portrait photos of hundreds of former citizens as well as historic photographs of streets, roads, buildings, and scenes from around the Firelands. In 1962 the Society was given the collection of historic glass plate negatives formerly owned by photographer Evander Bateham. A later gift made it possible to have all of these processed so that we have a copy of each negative. Other gifts have helped with preservation and equipment needs as well.
The Historical Society also owns a large collection of local newspapers which have been microfilmed. These films are on loan to the Norwalk Public Library where they, along with other microfilm material, make an enviable collection of local history material on film.
When visiting the Center, take time to view the extensive farm implement and Indian artifact collections. Note the mural on the wall, a hand-painted country scene by our late member and local artist Joe Mak.
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