Posted by: catalinamuseum | 10/12/2009

Finding Yourself…In the Archives

As an assistant here at the museum, I have the privilege of going through the collections in the Research Center on an almost daily basis.  Though I have lived in Avalon for the past few years, I never realized what an amazing amount of “stuff” the museum has – from old Avalon yearbooks to professional Island Company publicity photos, from newspapers that are over 100 years old to homemade family scrapbooks.  The list goes on and on.  The objects and images here don’t just record the history of Catalina’s big wigs such as the Wrigleys or the Island Company, it also depicts the life of everyday locals and visitors.  I receive many research requests of people looking into their personal family history here on Catalina, and generally I can find something in our records. 

While discussing my job outside of work, I have discovered that most locals don’t realize that it is their life and history that is held here at the Catalina Island Museum, and that there is a very good chance that they could find themselves in the permanent historical record if they went looking.  Not a day goes by when I don’t find a familiar face in the photos that I search through – whether it is a photo from my friends 10th birthday party or an elementary school photo from the 70s with names I recognize. 

Imagine my surprise though when I found a record of myself in a photo here at the museum!  I was searching through pictures of the fire from a few years ago (and who could forget that!) when I came upon a photo of the poster I made to thank the firefighters.  It was one thing finding my friend’s photos, another all together to find something of myself! 

My Poster

My Poster

 As the museum is looking towards the future, with plans to erect a building of our own to house the collections, I just wanted to remind our local friends of your presence here in the archives.  We are holding and preserving your personal history in trust for future generations.  We hope years from now, when your great-grandchildren are researching about your life, that we will have something to show them of your time spent here on Catalina Island.

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