DES MOINES (AP) — The public library in Council Bluffs wants everyday people to look in their attics or their basements for long-forgotten items that could be keys to the city's past.
The “Council Bluffs: Proud Past ... Bright Future” project is encouraging residents to look in those rooms and other corners of their homes for old photographs, letters and mementos that could be used to tell the community's history.
The project launched in 2010 with a resource website that encourages individuals, organizations and other groups to contribute information about the city that can be archived. Since then it's been collecting historical information from local participating museums. Several entities have individual pages that they update.
Now residents are being encouraged to bring personal items to an upcoming event so volunteers can scan them onto the project's website.
“I think a majority of our history is probably still sitting in shoe boxes in the attic,” said project director Chad Nation. “The city is over 150 years old. It's regrown itself and changed its identity five or six times in that span. I know there are pictures out there of early Council Bluffs that probably have never been seen.”
Patricia LaBounty, a member of the committee that helped launch the project, said something that makes the project's crowdsourcing component unique is how it's asking people to participate.
Some people might be reluctant to donate original items to a museum. Here, they will sign an agreement that allows their materials to be published, but they take home their items the day they're scanned.
The scanning event is Saturday at the Council Bluffs Public Library from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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