Hello, everyone. At some point this summer, either in person or on Facebook, you’ve probably come across my name, but I’ll introduce myself again. I’m Polly Bickford-Duane, the intern at the Orrington Historical Society. I’m going into my senior year at Wheaton College in Massachusetts and double majoring in English literature and French. I grew up in South Orrington and Judith Gillis, president of the OHS, used to be my middle school English teacher. We connected last winter for the first time since then to discuss what I could do for the Historical Society, and realized that an internship would both give her the extra help she needed and allow me to add a great experience to my resume.
Over the summer, Judith and I have been busy (if you know her personally, you know she hardly takes the time to breathe). Among other projects, we’ve been interviewing residents of our community about what life was like when they were growing up. Here in Orrington we’re lucky to have a number of people who are willing to share their stories with us.
Judith and I have also been working on the digital repository at the Maine State Library. It’s essentially an online database for old books and personal records. Judith and I use the new cradle scanner at the library, which allows you to scan books without flattening the spine. The file of the book then goes into the Maine State Library database. Thanks to Adam Fisher, who works at the library and manages the digital repository, we’ve been able to integrate the Orrington collection with our new website. If you visit our Special Collections page you’ll find all the books Judith and I have scanned so far. We hope to scan even more in the future, so the page will be continuously updated.
Speaking of our website, my main project this summer was updating ours. It has been redone in a completely new format and I hope it’s both informative and easy to use. Working on the website has been a lot of fun for me – it’s an opportunity to exercise my creativity and improve my technology skills at the same time.
Clearly, this summer has given me a range of new skills to add to my resume, but it has become more than that. Working with the Orrington Historical Society has been an incredible experience and has taught me to appreciate history in a way that doesn’t always come across in a classroom. Interviewing people about their lives has made me realize how important it is to keep history alive in a format accessible to as many people as possible. With that in mind, I’ll be working as much as I can with the OHS even as I head back to school – I’ll be managing and updating the website from my dorm room two states away.
If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or historical or genealogical information to share, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or post on the Orrington Historical Society Facebook page. We look forward to hearing from you.
Enjoy the rest of your summer!