MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

November 30, 2012

Digital move right one for museum


— Thousands of documents and photos on the history of this area are going to become available online.

“We’re trying to get everything in digital format and cross-referenced so people can research the items,” Five Civilized Tribes Museum collections manager Reuben Noah said. “There is so much we have in the collection that isn’t seen. This helps get the information across about what we have in the collection.”

This sort of effort creates greater access for researchers, students and the public than the physical museum ever could. Digital catalogs can also be more searchable.

The museum’s aim is to preserve the art, culture and history of the Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee and Seminole tribes.

Toward that end, the museum has collected thousands of items. Museum Director Mary Robinson said the museum has “well over 10,000” paper documents and almost the same number of photographs.

Digitizing will help the museum with its mission.

The facility could never hope to display all the items in its collection. It doesn’t have the space – and display of items carries with it the risk of wear and damage.

The digital archive allows access while preserving the item. Plus, it maintains the record if parts of the collection were to be damaged, lost or stolen.

Noah’s work digitizing the documents and photos is funded through a City of Muskogee Foundation grant. The museum pays for his work cataloging the documents.

The grant serves the public through the greater access the digital copies will provide. The grant serves the museum’s goal of cultural preservation.

Bravo! This project is a definite win-win.