Collection handing at the Talent Historical Society’s museum will be modernized with a $6,109 grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust for the purchase of a computer program. Storage and displays will also benefit from the grant.
“Instead of seeing a garage or attic-type setting, (volunteers) can see everything completely documented on the computer. We are going to do it very professionally,” said Jan Wright, society secretary. New volunteers are sometimes overwhelmed by the current collection that lacks significant cataloging, she said.
A rejuvenated board of directors has worked on programs for the past two years and is now focusing on the building, the former Talent library, at 105 N. Market St.
“We have spent the last couple of years trying to generate deeper and better programing, and that has worked and paid off for us, but the physical structure just doesn’t match the quality of the programs,” said Wright.
“We need to improve the exhibit space. We want it to be a much more modern look. We want better signage. We want to especially focus on our collection.”
Wright said trust money will allow purchase of shelving and acid-free baskets for collection storage and will also fund a new display case. She hopes the upgrades will encourage local residents to donate or loan historical items to the museum.
“We want improvements so that people can feel comfortable about donations they make to us," she said. "People in the past donated their Talent-related items to Southern Oregon Historical Society. We are hoping we can make that shift so we can put their family history on display.”
The museum will be getting new flooring. The city, which owns the building, has allocated $3,100 for flooring. City officials had held off replacing the floor while the Talent Food Pantry shared space in the building, producing heavy wear. The pantry relocated to a new site earlier this year.
“We have about $7,500 to put into the floor and make some capital improvements on the building’s interior,” said Wright. The society has allocated $2,500 of its own funds to help with the upgrades. Interior painting is also planned, and Wright says volunteers are needed for that task.
Board member Belinda Vos and her husband, Bob, redid the exterior landscape at the site earlier this year.
The city charges the group $100 per month to lease the structure. Besides the low rent, City Council this year awarded the society $3,517 from a $10,000 discretionary fund to aid with activities conducted by civic organizations.
Wright was the society’s paid director in the previous decade at a time when Jackson County supported local historical societies financially. The society is now an all-volunteer organization. Wright wrote the grant application with Marla Cates, former director of the Talent Urban Renewal Agency.
Monthly museum talks are held at 6:30 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of each month. Additional museum information can be found on Facebook.
— Tony Boom is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.