Reach awarded $10,000 grant for Living History Project

The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the EMC Heritage Trust Project.

The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the EMC Heritage Trust Project, one of three given out in all of North America.

The Reach will use its $10,000 grant to continue digitizing The Abbotsford Living History Project, a collection of photographs depicting life in Abbotsford from the 1880s to the present day. The project is accessible online and allows individuals to comment on photographs, adding personal memories and context to the collection and creating a meaningful connection with the community.

“Abbotsford has a rich, diverse cultural history and that’s depicted in the photographs of The Living History Project,” said Karina Chow, Director of Development at the Reach. “Many people are interested in finding old photographs of family members and there is also a large audience for historical images and the associated contextual information.”

The museum has already digitized 9,000 images as part of the project. The grant will allow staff to digitize another 6,000 images, including 1,000 images from the Abbotsford News, covering the years 1960 to 1990.

Social media helped drive community support

The Reach relied on strong local ties and a social media campaign to secure its grant. Finalists for the first round of 2012 Heritage Trust Project grants were notified their submissions were under consideration. The finalists were then encouraged to have their community supporters vote for their specific projects on the EMC Heritage Trust Project Facebook page.

The museum reached out to local media directly and to the Abbotsford community through Twitter. The resulting publicity allowed the museum to generate the second-most responses among grant finalists.

“It was gratifying to see how much the community pulled together for us and helped us secure the grant,” Chow said. “It shows we’re valued by the city’s residents and validates what we’re doing with The Living History Project.”

The submission process for the second round of 2012 grants began Oct. 15. The application form is available on the  EMC Heritage Trust Facebook page at: http://emc.im/zKxfrA.

“Canada has had a high level of participation in all five years of the EMC Heritage Trust Project,”  said Michael Sharun, Managing Director of EMC Canada. “That proves how important preserving our unique cultural identity is to Canadians and we are pleased EMC has been able to contribute meaningfully to the preservation of six important local Canadian collections since 2007.”

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